(Diane L. Wilson)
ALTENBURG, Mo. -- The smell of beer, brats and barnyard animals flooded Altenburg Friday night as the East Perry Community Fair kicked off.
Around 30,000 people were expected to come during the course of the two-day fair, according to local officials.
For the event, some businesses and local schools closed down.
"The longer weekend is always a plus," Michael Davis said.
Davis, 15, was at the fair Friday afternoon with fellow members of Perryville High School's marching band after they had played in the parade.
While there was a football game scheduled for Friday night, Davis and his friends all planned to come back to partake in the food and activities offered.
"The food is great," said BJ Abernathy of Cape Girardeau.
Abernathy, who has relatives in Altenburg, has attended both nights of the fair since 1974. Each year she makes sure to sample every edible item there.
"We come up here to gain about 10 pounds," she said with a laugh. "We end up eating every bit."
Katie Burroughs, 24, of Troy, Ill. was also enjoying the food and beverages with friends and family.
"Ooo, the grilled-cheese sandwiches. They are so good," she said.
Originally from the Perryville, Mo., area, Burroughs returns each year to the fair and catches up with friends.
"You can see all your old friends and get together with everybody," she said.
One of those old friends was Amy Schremp, 24, of Perryville, with whom Burroughs went to high school.
This was the first fair Schremp has gone to in two years after serving in Iraq for the Army National Guard. After having to listen to Army orders, Schremp said, she grew to miss the freedom to make her own decisions. But with so many choices of meals to choose from at the fair, such freedom was almost overkill for Schremp.
"I have to decide what to eat," she said. "I'm sick of making decisions!"
Among the more unusual delicacies were deep-fried candy bars offered at the booth of Doyle Luders. The booth, a family business at the fair for 20 years, has been serving up the fried chocolate for about five years, Luders said.
The treat was also the favorite food of the fair for Mikayla Schuessler, 10, of Frohna, Mo.
"It's mushy!" she said.
Her description of her deep-fried Snickers also applied to the ground following rains in the evening.
Thunderstorms rolled through the area Friday, bringing enough rain to cancel the tractor pull about a third of the way through the event, according to a fair official. As of Friday night, all of today's events were to go on as scheduled.
For more information on the fair, call (573) 824-5827.
335-6611, extension 127
9 a.m.: 4-H and FFA steer show
9 a.m.: River Hills Run
9 am.: Judge of sheep and goats
9:30 a.m.: 4-H horsemanship show
10 a.m.: Dairy cattle show
11 a.m.: Judge of draft horses and mules
11 a.m.: Saddle horse show
1 p.m.: Saxony Hills Community Band
2 p.m.: Rooster crow contest
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.: music by Country Touch
8 p.m.: Truck pull
8:30 p.m.: Attendance prizes