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Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair kicks off in less than three weeks
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Melinda Wiggins of Statesboro enjoys the last night of the 2007 Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair Saturday with son Lucas Eadley. The 2008 fair is scheduled for Oct. 13-18. - photo by FILE

    In just a few weeks, the traffic along Fair Road will more than quadruple at night and the lights of the midway will entice passersby as the 47th Annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair arrives.
    A week of exciting rides, agricultural exhibits, a variety of foods you can only find at a fair and other attractions will draw people from seven counties and beyond. Kicking off Monday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. with a parade through downtown Statesboro, the fair lasts through Saturday, Oct. 18.
    The fair offers a variety of activities, exhibits and opportunities for all ages. There is a separate midway for young children where parents can avoid the rowdier crowd seeking  thrills on the larger rides.
    There are games of chance, novelty booths, food booths manned by midway operators as well as local vendors; agricultural displays including crops, antique tools and farm equipment, and a grist mill.
    The Aldrich House takes visitors back in time to how things were done "back in the day," and local 4-H members show off projects in their mini-booths.
    The Kiwanis Pancake House appeals to many with fresh sausage and pancakes — maple syrup or the locally made cane syrup. There are buildings with commercial booths for browsing and a real country store will take older citizens back in time as they step inside for an ice cold Coca Cola.
    There are only 18 days to the fair and the club members are scrambling to get things ready for the thousands who will flock to the fair. Proceeds from the annual event are filtered back into the community via donations, such as one made Thursday to the Portal Police Department.
    Kiwanis member Keith Barber presented Portal Police Chief Jason Sapp with a $500 check to be used to purchase the department a much-needed new alcosensor, which detects alcohol levels of impaired drivers, Barber said.
    Each week the club donates to an organization or program, including The Ronald McDonald House, Boys and Girls Club, American red Cross, 4-H, Special Olympics, and Bulloch County law enforcement and emergency response programs, said Darrell Colson, fair chairman, in a letter to citizens in the annual "Fair Book."
    The "Fair Book," available at many local retailers, includes rules for exhibits and competitions as well as information on fair events. Each year the Fair Book is dedicated to a Kiwanis member who has shown leadership and dedication to the club. The 2008 honoree is Vince Galasso, member since 1978.
    Colson said more than $20,000 in prize money will be awarded for entries in the fair this year.
   
New year for Kiwanis Club
    The arrival of the fair heralds the end of a fiscal year for the Statesboro Kiwanis Club, which hosts the annual event. Thursday, new officers were sworn in and members discussed plans for preparing for the fair.
    Kiwanis president Lovett Bennett Jr. handed over reins to incoming president Bill Ponder. Barbara Price is president-elect for next year, and Bede Mitchell moved up ranks to vice president.
    Charles Stokes, secretary for the club for many years, retained his position, as did  long-time treasurer James Deal. Darrell Colson also accepted the position of fair chairman for the upcoming year, after several terms in the same position.
    Three new board members were inducted; Earl Cashon, Ted Williams and Barry Turner.
    Two members were awarded certificated and pins for being named "Outstanding Kiwanians" for a prior year as well.