• 63°

Pike County Fair opens tonight

James Henderson pushed his cap back on his head, squinted his eyes from the sun and surveyed the Midway. He was obviously pleased with what he saw.

Henderson is the fair manger of the Pike County Fair, which is sponsored annually the Troy Shrine Club. As he goes, so goes the fair.

“It’s up to me to see that everything is going the way it should,” Henderson said with a smile. “If it’s not, I’ve to get it going. The county fair is the Troy Shrine Club’s major fundraiser and we want every year to be bigger and better than the one before. That’s why we get the best carnival that we can get. That’s why we stay with the Terry family out of Phenix City.”

For several years, the Shriners have contracted with Terry Fairs for the Midway. This year, the contract is with the Dixie Land Carnival Company.

“The name has changed but it’s still the Terry family,” Henderson said. “The fair has been handed down through the generations and Bill and Stacy Terry now own and operated the carnival under the new name. The Pike County Fair is still in the hands of the Terry family so it will be a great, great fair.”

Dixie Land Carnival Company has a new “major attraction,” the Ball of Fire.

“From what I hear, it’s a thrilling ride,” Henderson said. “We had the Ring of Fire last year and it was very popular. The Ball of fire is even more exciting.”

Tim Costley, an employee of the carnival company, said the Ball of Fire is like a Ferris wheel except it has cages that spin as the wheel turns.

“If you like speed and spins, you’ll like the Ball of Fire,” Costley said. “The Himalaya is always a popular ride for older kids and adults. It’s real fast. We’ve got rides for all ages and the Dragon Wagon is a favorite of the younger kids. It’s a rollercoaster ride. We’ve also got the Jalopy Junction for kids. We’ve got a big Midway and something for everybody that loves a carnival.”

Costley was complimentary of the Terry family.

“I’ve never worked for people as good as them,” he said. “They’re going to have everything just right, down to having every light bulb burning. We’ve got a good carnival and a clean one. After the rides are put up, we clean everything from top to bottom and get it ready for the gates to open.”

Henderson said the Shriners are looking for a good week and invites everybody out to the Pike County Fair.

The fair open at 6 p.m. tonight and runs through Saturday. Admission is $6 and $4. Wednesday is Kids’ Day and all students are admitted for half price. Armbands, good for unlimited rides, are available for $15.

Special entertainment has been lined up for each night. SheBANG cloggers will perform on Tuesday (6:30) and Wednesday (7:00) nights and the countywide cheerleading competition will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Southside Shufflers will be on stage on Thursday night, Johnny Barron and his Waterfall student band on Friday night and the Classic Band and Broken Strings on Saturday night.