Lee Regional Fair opens Tuesday at Sanford Lions Club Fairgrounds
For the third consecutive year Lee County residents met the Saturday before the Lee Regional Fair to loop tobacco and share traditions.
Four teams competed in the annual tobacco looping contest — the art of stringing tobacco on a stick to be cured in a barn — at the Sanford Lions Club Fairgrounds and reminisce on days long gone.
The Lee County Cooperative Extension Agricultural Agent Tim Tungate said the friendly competition is more about keeping a rural tradition alive than who wins.
“There are people here who looped as a child and they are remembering their past,” she said.
The winners are as follows:
First place team: Kay Kelly, Gary Kelly and Patrick Kelly.
Second place team: Jackie O. Hall, Janice McKinney and Linda Thomas.
Third place team: Billie Kelly Foushee, Madison Faulk and Layne Baker.
Fourth place team: Mary Douglas, Clay Fouler and Ashley Garner.
Baker and Faulk are president and vice president, respectively, of the Future Farmers of America at Lee County High School.
“It was a lot of fun,” Baker said with Faulk adding she’d wouldn’t want to loop tobacco all day but would if she needed to.
The team formed at the last minute because the students were interested in learning how to loop, according to Foushee.
“It’s all about teaching the young people our traditions and heritage,” she said. “About what we did in the past.”
Kay Kelly, who also participated and won last year’s competition, said she loves to have fun with her family during the event.
“It brings back old memories and it’s great fellowship,” she said.
It’s those type of memories that Sanford Lions Club Fair Committee Chairman Ronnie Turner said he hopes everyone will take away during the fair’s festivities.
“We work hard to make this a true family event,” he said. “We hope people come out and enjoy themselves. The Sanford Lions Club is dedicated to making this place look nice. So come out and have a nice time. It’s good, family entertainment. That’s what it’s all about.”
The fair runs from Tuesday to Sunday with gates opening at 4:30 p.m. on week days and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the fair is at 5 p.m. Tuesday and new attractions this year include various rides, a functional general store, a tractor pull, ATV mud bog, a horse show and a hypnotist.
A tobacco tying contest — the art of bundling tobacco leaves together by banding the top stems — is also new this year and scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Lee Regional Fair. Both contests are sponsored by Crop Production Services.