Meadville Tribune

September 4, 2013

Annual fair 'what makes Jamestown a special place'

Meadville Tribune

JAMESTOWN — Taylor Cotton of Sandy Lake keeps coming back to the Jamestown Community Fair to show his horses for one simple reason — he enjoys it.

But it’s not just the pleasure Cotton derives from exhibiting his animals, but the feel he gets from the fair itself.

“It’s a well-run fair,” Cotton said as he watched a horse exhibition Wednesday afternoon at the fairgrounds off Shenango Street. He’s been exhibiting animals at the Jamestown Community Fair for almost 15 years.

“The people who are on the fair board know what they’re doing,” he continued. “They don’t let the carnival run the fair.”

The fair even has volunteers to help care for the animals that are on display, Cotton said.

Positive comments such as Cotton’s only reinforce what Dan Dickey, Jamestown Community Fair’s president, says it takes to have a successful fair — especially for 70 years.

“It’s cooperation — from the school, the community and the people who like to come to the fair or exhibit,” said Dickey. “There’s really nothing like the Jamestown Fair.”

The annual fair — held in September Tuesday through Saturday following Labor Day — uses some of the Jamestown Junior-Senior High School’s classrooms for exhibition halls for craft, produce and flower display. School shuts down for the four-day period during the fair.

“It’s good for the community,” Shane Murray, superintendent of Jamestown Area School District, said. “It’s important we open our doors and work with the people on the fair board. It’s what makes Jamestown a special place.”

Dickey, who has been fair president for three years, said volunteers are what make the fair run smoothly. While he’s been president three years, he also has volunteered at the fair’s dairy department for 25 years and has exhibited cows at the fair for more than 40 years.

“We get every kind of support you can think of,” Dickey said. “We have people who donate their time or materials for buildings or something else. Everything to get it ready.”

The five-day fair is truly a community event, according to Dickey.

“It’s hard to know how many (people attend) because we have free admission,” Dickey said. “I wish we had a way to measure it accurately, but the midway always is elbow to elbow every evening. It’s kind of a homecoming.”

Betty Christie, 82, of Adamsville agrees with the homecoming analogy.

“If I stay here long enough, half the people here I’ll know. That’s the fun part,” Christie said. She was visiting the fair Wednesday afternoon with nieces Mary Amsler of Chatham, Mass., and Vicky Carney of Denver, who were visiting.

Are there any other reasons why Christie likes to go to the fair?

“Dare I say for the food?” Christie said while smiling and drawing laughs from her nieces.

Did you know?

The budget for the Jamestown Community Fair is between $35,000 to $40,000 annually.

Saturday’s Jamestown Community Fair Parade will have about 200 units this year, including floats, marching bands and others.

Schedule of events

A full schedule of events for the 70th annual Jamestown Community Fair is available online at The fair runs through Saturday. A list of events includes:

- Today — Junior country beauty pageant a 6 p.m.: hymn sing at 6:30 p.m.; truck and tractor pull at 7 p.m. (gate opens at 5)

- Friday — entertainment by the MidLife Cowboy Band at 6 p.m.; truck and tractor pull at 7 p.m. (gate opens at 5 p.m.)

- Saturday — parade at 1 p.m. (formation at noon); demolition derby at 6 p.m.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at