Organizers laud annual fair's low costs, down-home charm

Monday, September 19, 2005

ALTENBURG, Mo. -- The East Perry County Community Fair is a long-standing tradition in the small town of Altenburg.

Since 1937, the fair has served as a gathering point for the eastern Perry County area that highlights the region's agricultural heritage. The stars of the show -- mules.

"One thing that we're well-known for is our mule jumping competition," said Fred Eggers, president of the fair board. "You put up a barrier and the mule jumps over it, and you raise it with each jump. It's like high jumping."

On Friday and Saturday visitors to the fair will get to see events like the mule-jumping competition, as 20,000 to 30,000 people flood the little town of Altenburg for this year's fair.

What brings all those people to Altenburg?

"We're kind of the low-cost option on the menu," Eggers said. "We have free admission, free parking, we don't charge for entertainment and we've got good food at reasonable prices."

The low price is coupled with a family atmosphere and down-home charm that makes the East Perry fair a great choice, said Eggers.

"It's by far the biggest event in our area," he said. "For the people that live there now, most are working but they all still come in and have a good time, and for the people who've grown up there and moved away it's kind of a homecoming."

Starting with the parade Friday at 1:30 p.m. down Main Street and Church Street, the fair offers a variety of agricultural events and entertainment for visitors. While the mule jump is most popular, fairgoers also love events like the antique tractor pull and the saddle horse show.

Another popular event is the pedal tractor pull. Children pull loads just like the regular tractor pull using small pedal-powered machines.

"That draws a big crowd because the parents and grandparents all have to watch," said Eggers.

Over the past 10 years, the fair has been drawing larger and larger crowds, said Eggers. That started to become a worry for organizers, but this year any problems have hopefully been alleviated with eight more acres of parking and added seats to the fairgrounds arena.

For more information on the East Perry County Community Fair, call (573) 824-5513.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

Fair schedule of events:

Friday

1:30 p.m. -- Parade

2:30 p.m. -- Opening Ceremony

3 p.m. -- Pedal Tractor Pull

5 p.m. -- Antique Tractor Pull

6:30 p.m. -- Music by 3rd Degree

Saturday

9 a.m. -- 4-H and FFA Steer Show

9 a.m. -- River Hills Run

9:30 a.m. -- 4-H Horsemanship Show

10:30 a.m. -- Dairy Cattle Show

11 a.m. -- Saddle Horse Show

Noon -- Saxony Hills Community Band

2 p.m. -- Music by Country Touch

3:30 p.m. -- 4-H and FFA Steer Sale, 4-H and FFA Market Broiler and Rabbit Sale

5:30 p.m. -- Jumping Mules Competition

6 p.m. -- Jackson Municipal Band

8:30 p.m. -- Attendance Prizes

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