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Fair a family affair
101608 FAIR 02
While carrying daughter Lakota, 2, on his shoulders, Perry Robinson spots friends at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair Thursday evening. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    With the busiest days of the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair ahead of them, members of the Statesboro Kiwanis Club met  Thursday to enjoy  a repast provided by Amusements of America, the company which provides the fair's midway each year.
    It's a tradition honored for years: club members dine on "fair food" — Italian sausages, fried chicken, barbecue, potato salad and the trimmings, and pizza. Then they get down to business.
    It's the time when problems are addressed and plans are made to continue the week-long event that has been the Statesboro Kiwanis Club's annual fundraiser for 47 years. It is also a time to acknowledge those key members and employees who keep the fair going.
    Fair Chairman Darrell Colson thanked Statesboro Police Chief Stan York for help with Monday's parade, and praised Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson for the security and traffic assistance provided throughout the week during the fair.
    "Lynn does a good job of keeping this a family event," he said.
    Anderson said there had been only a few minor events requiring law enforcement involvement so far this week, and reminded the club  that deputies would continue to patrol the fairgrounds and parking area.
    Colson told the group the fairgrounds will remain open a little longer than usual Saturday night. Rides will operate until 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, but admission gates will close promptly at 10 p.m. Saturday night and no one will be readmitted unless their hand is stamped when they exit.
    The stamp for readmission is seen only under black light and is different from the wrist stamps sold for unlimited midway rides.
    Amusements of America owner Dominic Vivona is always present for the club's mid-fair meeting. When it was his turn to speak,he had high praise for Colson.
    "He's a heck of a fair chairman and makes life easy for us," he said. "It's a pleasure working with him."
    Colson was voted "Fairman of the Year" for 2008, said Statesboro Kiwanis member Walter Pease, who is also Area Six director for  the Georgia Association of Agricultural Fairs. Colson was honored at the association's January meeting.
    Vivona spoke about the midway and pointed out the Crazy Mouse roller coaster is one of only two in the country, and said his company brought the "Disco" ride so the club would have "something new and different" for patrons.
    Colson said visitors seem to be having a wonderful time so far and the weather has been perfect for fairgoers this week.
    The busiest nights, however, are ahead, he said. Traditionally, Friday and Saturday draw the largest crowds.

Deputies, members keep fair "a family event"
    When large crowds gather, accidents can happen and behavior can get out of control, but Colson said the incidents involving law enforcement this week have been minor, and no one has been seriously injured.
    Late Monday, two men were arrested for fighting, according to Bulloch County Sheriff's reports. Sgt. Jimmy Billings stated he observed Deputy Ross Newman take Shawn Devone Martin, 17, Windmere Estates, Claxton,  into custody.
    When Billings saw the other man involved, Jaqual Shidell Chaple, 18, McKinney Street, Claxton, was "making attempts to get to Martin, who was hand cuffed,  Billings ordered him to  the ground.
    After ignoring several commands to comply, Chaple was subdued by a five-second burst from Deputy Ben Coney's Taser, he said. Both offenders were charged with affray.
    In a separate incident Monday night a juvenile was taken into custody on disorderly conduct and obstruction charges by Sgt. Todd Mashburn, according to reports.
    Wednesday, around 6:40 p.m., Statesboro Kiwanis members called for deputy assistance because Antonieyo Lee,  19, West Jones Avenue, was causing a disturbance at the fairgrounds entrance.
    Bulloch County Sheriff's Deputy Fred Cotton stated in reports Lee tried to enter the pass gate for free without a photo school identification card. Wednesday was free admission night for grade school, college or university students, providing they had a photo ID.
    When told he  had to either have a school ID or pay admission, Lee left, but returned and "attempted to force the club member to let him in because of his race," Cotton said.
    Cotton then told Lee he could not enter without admission or a school ID, and Lee began cursing, he said in reports. "Lee said he was not going anywhere and ... attempted to walk back into the fairgrounds."
    Cotton told Lee he was under arrest, but Lee refused to cooperate and place his hands behind his back. Cotton "grabbed Lee and held him against the wall ... Lee was continuously  trying to butt his head against my face ... ramming me and him against a wooden wall."
    Other deputies arrived and handcuffed Lee, charging him with disorderly conduct, obstruction of an officer and criminal trespass.
    "The sheriff's office does a great job," Colson said Thursday during the club meeting. "We have a zero tolerance policy — no fighting, no alcohol. If you're rowdy they take you off the grounds."
    Deputies will continue patrolling the grounds as well as the parking lot to ensure the fair remains a safe, family environment, he said.
    "I take pride in our zero tolerance," he said, adding he has been asked to speak about the policy with other counties and clubs at the annual state Georgia Association of Agricultural Fairs meeting.
    Colson said visitors needing assistance or who want to report problems should contact a Kiwanis member (wearing yellow shirts and jackets) or a deputy. Injuries and other issues can also be reported to members at the information booth near the fair entrance, he said.

     
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