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Fire it up! Annual Jr. Fair BBQ cooks up another savory fare

It takes a team effort, such as seen with these folks preparing the meals, to make the annual Junior Fair Beef BBQ a success year after year.
It takes a team effort, such as seen with these folks preparing the meals, to make the annual Junior Fair Beef BBQ a success year after year.

Annual fundraiser is a lip smackin’ draw for locals –

Story and photos by Patricia Beech –

It’s one of the oldest methods of cooking.
Dig a hole in the ground, fill it with fire, wrap your meat in muslin, cover it and let it roast for several hours.
Members of the Adams County Junior Fair have been firing up their own authentic barbecue since 1963 and drawing in long lines of locals who appreciate savory flavor
“They’ve been doing the barbecue for more than 50 years so it’s become a tradition and now people expect it every year,” said Caitlin Young, the 2016 Fair Queen.
This year 1,390 people showed up to support the annual  barbecue. “We hadn’t anticipated a growth of 200 over last  year,” said Corbett Phipps,one of the organizers of the annual event. “So we’re going to up the supplies for next year, I’d rather have too much than too little.
The popular annual event sponsored by the Junior Fair raises money  to maintain and upgrade the facilities at the Adams County fairgrounds.

These hard-working and dedicated FFA members from Adams County schools were an integral part of the process of preparing for the annual Junior Fair Beef BBQ.
These hard-working and dedicated FFA members from Adams County schools were an integral part of the process of preparing for the annual Junior Fair Beef BBQ.

“The Junior Fair Barbecue is very important to the fair,” said Fair Board President Liz Lafferty. “The capitol improvement money is used for big projects, not every year, but after a couple years they can apply it to a big project.
Community support for the barbecue has always been enthusiastic. “Everyone looks forward to it,” said Adams County Commissioner Brian  Baldridge. “People come out for the barbecue and that supports our fair in the summer and obviously helps our youth here in the county.”
Alex Scharfetter, campaign manager for Congressman Brad Wenstrup presented the Junior Fair members a $100 donation on behalf of the Congressman. Wenstrup began giving the donation in 2015 to Junior Fair  boards in the 2nd Congressional district.
“The money goes toward a patriot project at the fair to honor our heroes, veterans, and  military members,” said Scharfetter. “I think it’s a great use of  dollars that the kids can use to come up with an idea of their own to  honor those who sacrifice for all of us.”
Congressman Wenstrup was serving Army Reserve duty and unable to attend.
Despite unexpected rain showers, preparations for the authentic  barbecue went as planned. “The wood got a little wet,” said Phipps.  “But we got it going and it was probably one of the best fires we’ve had. The rain didn’t slow us down at all.”

Pictured here is the presentation of the $100 check from Congressman Brad Wenstrup to the Adams County Junior Fair Board.  From left, Jace Howard (President Junior Fair Board), Caitlin Young (Fair Queen and Junior Fair Board member), Molly Bauman (Secretary, Junior Fair Board), Alex Scharfetter (Wenstrup Campaign Manager), Kelsea Hamilton (Reporter, Junior Fair Board), Madison Siders (2016 Cattlemen Ambassador and Junior Fair Board member), and Jordan Crum (Chairman of Flagpole Committee, Junior Fair Board member).
Pictured here is the presentation of the $100 check from Congressman Brad Wenstrup to the Adams County Junior Fair Board. From left, Jace Howard (President Junior Fair Board), Caitlin Young (Fair Queen and Junior Fair Board member), Molly Bauman (Secretary, Junior Fair Board), Alex Scharfetter (Wenstrup Campaign Manager), Kelsea Hamilton (Reporter, Junior Fair Board), Madison Siders (2016 Cattlemen Ambassador and Junior Fair Board member), and Jordan Crum (Chairman of Flagpole Committee, Junior Fair Board member).

The barbecue is a joint effort by Junior Fair, 4-H, and FFA members from the  the five county high schools. Ag Business and Ag Mechanic students from the CTC and West Union HS begin the process by digging the pit with help from the county highway department. Manchester FFA members split the wood, Peebles FFA members uncover the pit and take the meat to the CTC, and North Adams FFA, acting as clean up crew, get rid of  trash and break down the tables.  Adult volunteers wrap the 1,000 plus pounds of meat which is purchased at Prather’s IGA in West Union.
“This barbecue is important not only because it supports our Junior Fair organizations, but also because it allows students to experience the community’s support for them,” said Peebles FFA instructor Becky  Minton. “It also teaches them how they can give back to the community  by helping out in their own organization. I think that when we look at  all the improvements in the fair grounds we can see that this is a  really good activity and really good food.

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