Wedged between the Hope Watermelon Festival, Back to School, Football season, and the Labor Day weekend, the 32nd Annual Hempstead County Fair is scheduled to start on Tuesday, August 29, and it will run right up into the Labor Day holiday weekend, Saturday, September 2 with the Miss Hempstead Pageant.

Wedged between the Hope Watermelon Festival, Back to School, Football season, and the Labor Day weekend, the 32nd Annual Hempstead County Fair is scheduled to start on Tuesday, August 29, and it will run right up into the Labor Day holiday weekend, Saturday, September 2 with the Miss Hempstead Pageant.
“We are always excited about the competitions; it is always a great opportunity to showcase our young people and what they are doing.“ Terrie James, Hempstead County extension agent said Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday evening, a contingent of 4-H youth were already hard at work cleaning the fairgrounds buildings and getting ready for next week.
“It is like the old saying ‘when company is coming over, you’ve got to clean up’” James said.
As usual, the County Fair will include livestock shows, horticulture, arts and crafts competitions, and as before, the Premium Luncheon, this year on Friday, Sept. 1, will be sponsored by Tyson Foods.
For many of the competitions, like the arts and crafts, photography, and sewing, there are open entries, meaning anyone can submit something.
“Many of these competitions are open to all residents; you don’t have to be a 4-Her or FFA. Some of the competitions, you do, but many you don’t,” James said.
While many entries are open, a critical area that is open this year is volunteers, which James said the Fair needs more of.
“We need some help.  We need some volunteers for these check-ins on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We need some judges.  Anyone who wants to help, have them give me a call,” she said.
Entries and check-ins for the 2017 County Fair are set for Tuesday, August 29 at 12 p.m. although James said some late check-ins may filler in on Wednesday morning.
As in 2016, much of the judging for  horticulture, canning, arts and crafts and photography will be done on Wednesday.
As it has always done, the County Fair is also hosting the livestock shows for 4-H and FFA members. An estimated 34 youth participated in 2016
As before, the livestock animals are expected to be checked at their designated area at the fairgrounds August 29 by 6 p.m.
According to the Hempstead County Fair Association, “all animals entering the grounds" must meet health requirements and requirements of their species.
The goat and swine shows are on August 30 at 6 p.m.
The beef, sheep, chicken and rabbit shows are on August 31 at 6 p.m.
The Livestock Premium Sale Luncheon takes place on September 1 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. followed by the Livestock Premium Sale.
Also, the Miss Hempstead County Fair pageant sponsored by Beta Sigma Phi returns to the Hempstead County Fairgrounds, happening at the Fair Park Coliseum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 2.
Gigi Bradshaw, a coordinator for the Little Miss pageant, confirmed Tuesday “Yes, we are returning to the fairgrounds after three years.”
Bradshaw said the younger aged competitions will start at 10 a.m., while Miss Hempstead County will start at approximately 3 p.m.
As the Hope Star was preparing for press Tuesday afternoon, the Miss Hempstead County pageant was hosting a special “Meet the Contestants” Community Coffee at the Hope Chamber Office.
For the second consecutive year, the Hempstead County Fair is happening prior to Labor Day weekend, instead of afterwards. James said the schedule change was made to encourage participation in both the Hempstead County Fair and Four States Fair.
“We did the change because of scheduling, and some participants were having to choose one or the other. Now, they can participate in both, prior to the Southwest District Fair later,” she said.
James said the key to the Hempstead County Fair’s success was competition and participation.