By Callie Hietala
Thousands flocked to the Martinsville Speedway last weekend—young and old, big families, and small groups of friends – all to enjoy the sights, lights, smells, and sounds of the first annual Henry County Fair.
The event was not the first in Henry County, but it was the first in several decades, according to Roger Adams, director of Henry County Parks and Recreation.
Numbers are still being counted, but Adams estimated that 7,500-8,000 wandered the midway, dared to ride the Himalaya, gazed down from atop the Ferris wheel, cheered as Shane Hansen juggled flaming torches and dove onto an inflated pad from 65 feet in the air, and just generally enjoyed the magic, awe, and wonder.
The budget for the fair was $70,000. Startup costs were provided by Henry County and sponsorships were secured from entities including the Martinsville Elks Lodge, Bassett Furniture, Hooker Furniture, B-99.9, Sovah Health, the Campbell Family Foundation, and more. The county received a percentage of ride wristbands and ride ticket sales as well as admission fees. All the county’s profits will be reinvested in future fairs.
Eventually, Adams said, the fair should become self-sustaining and, if all goes well, the fund will grow to include a reserve to help support the fair in less profitable years.