CHURCH HILL — Two days of wholesome, traditional fun kicked off Friday as the first ever Hawkins County Fair got underway on the grounds of Camp Hope in the New Canton community near Church Hill.
There were music and plenty of activities throughout the day Friday, with even more scheduled for Saturday, but Friday’s main event was a horse show.
The fair closes at 9 p.m. both nights.
The bigger day will be Saturday, however, as the History Channel’s Eustace Conway will spend the day at the fair and do shows at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the amphitheater.
The fair is sponsored by Hawkins County’s Hope Community Church, which also owns and operates the 150-acre grounds of Camp Hope, which provides a free summer camp experience to about 1,000 children every year.
After months of planning, pastor Doug Messer said it was a big relief for the fair day to finally arrive.
It was also a bit “overwhelming.” Organizers knew some schools would be coming Friday for a field trip, but they didn’t know exactly how many.
“I knew a few school buses were coming, but all of a sudden, a whole bunch of buses showed up, and it has become a field trip, and the kids are excited and it’s great,” he said. “I love it. Teachers are coming up to us and telling us the kids are having a great time. They love being out here. The vendors are doing well, and demonstrators are doing their thing. Most everybody showed up who said they were going to be here, and I think tomorrow is going to be a great day.”
Aside from the Conway appearance, Saturday will feature live music and dancing all day. There will also be chicken judging, goat judging, cattle judging and a rabbit show.
“Come spend the whole day, and you’ll have a great time,” Messer said Friday. “You need to bring a lawn chair with you and sit and listen to the bluegrass and the cloggers tomorrow. You need to bring an appetite because the food vendors have a lot of food here. Just come and relax and have a good time.”
The easiest way to get to the fairgrounds is to take Highway 11-W to Church Hill and turn north at the New Canton Road intersection. From there, the route is marked with signs. When New Canton Road ends, turn right onto Old Union Road and travel about a half-mile, and the fair entrance is on the right.