CAMPBELL, Mo. -- The invitation is out. Come to the fair. This year, the annual Campbell Peach Fair is celebrating its 27th consecutive year, according to Peach Fair board member, Tina Finder, who is in charge of public relations.
Known as the "Peach Capital of Missouri," Campbell annually celebrates its festival heritage which began in 1944. The event now attracts residents from across the Missouri Bootheel to Campbell the second full week in August -- this year, Aug. 3-11 -- to celebrate the Missouri Peach Fair.
Pageants, parades, prizes, fun and food traditionally highlight the event and this year is no different. In addition, fair goers can look forward to a topnotch country music show with Heath Hartwell of Qulin, the 2005 state winner of the Country Showdown contest, opening the show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4. The featured performer, Mark Wills, named the Academy of Country Music's Top New Male Vocalist of 1999, will be singing many of his hit sons, including "19 Somethin'," "And the Crowd Goes Wild," "Wish You Were Here," and "Don't Laugh At Me" beginning at 8 p.m. Cost for tickets will be $15 in advance (available at the City Light and Water office, Joyce's Alterations, Vancil's and Eze Cook Gas, all in Campbell) and $17.50 at the door. Tickets also may be purchased by sending check or money order to Tina Finder, 1002 Bailey St., Campbell, MO 63933.
Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information, interested persons may call 573-246-3585 or 573-217-0620.
The week-long fun begins with the Miss Missouri Peach Queen Pageant at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4, at the Campbell Community Building. The winner will reign over the week's events and will be eligible to compete at the Missouri State Fair Queen Pageant in Sedalia. During the pageant, this year's Peach Fair Parade grand marshal and honorary peach queen also will be named.
A queen and four alternates will be selected with all five receiving trophies. The queen also will receive a crown, queen's bouquet, banner and $150 in cash; first alternate will receive $100; and second alternate will receive $50. Miss Congeniality will be chosen by the contestants at rehearsal and a trophy presented for the honor.
See accompanying story for additional information.
On Saturday, the voices of Hartwell and Wills will fill the community building as they entertain their country music fans. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.
Proud parents and grandparents will want to take note of the Sunday, Aug. 5, deadline for entering their favorite child's photo for the baby picture contest for children ages birth to 4 years. Winners will be announced Wednesday night at the fairgrounds and the pictures placed on display in the community center throughout Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
A relatively new event, but one growing in popularity each year, is the annual Talent Contest, which will take place at the community building on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The Talent Contest gives area youth an opportunity to showcase their talents, meet other young people and even win some money.
In addition, the talent show is a sanctioned preliminary contest for the Mid South Fair in Memphis, Tenn., and the winner in the older of two age divisions will be invited to compete in that contest.
Those who are interested in entering the contest are invited to contact Dena Bedwell at 573-246-2148 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"This is the fourth year for the talent contest and we're hoping it will be even bigger than last year," said Tony Adair, president of the Fair Board. "We would really like to see this event grow and expand."
The Peach Fair wouldn't be the Peach Fair without the excitement of carnival games and rides, traditionally provided by Star Amusements which has provided family entertainment at the Fair for at least 50 years. Rides, games and food booths will be set up beginning Wednesday night, Aug. 8, which also happens to be Family Night/Armband Night, with the best bargain for families to enjoy the rides. Armbands are $8 in advance and $10 that night and are available at the Campbell City Hall, Campbell First Community Bank, EZE Cook Gas and IGA.
Nightly bandstand entertainment also begins Wednesday night with local entertainers. Thursday night will be gospel night on the bandstand, beginning at 6 p.m. Dena Bedwell is lining up the entertainment for that evening.
With the Little Miss Peach Blossom and Little Miss Peach Queen pageants utilizing the bandstand on Friday night, beginning at 7 p.m., the nightly entertainment returns at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, with more local entertainers on hand to entertain until the Jr. Miss Peach Queen Pageant begins at 8 p.m.
One scheduled event, not already mentioned, but undeniably one that draws lots of participation and observers is the annual Peach Fair Parade. Entries may contact Bud Hill at 246-2986. Registration and lineup will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Assembly of God Church on Highway 53. The parade itself will start winding its way through downtown Campbell at 10 a.m., ending at the fair grounds. Prizes for entries include three prizes for floats: First place -- $300; second place -- $200; and third place -- $100. A $15 prize will be awarded for first place in the Wheel Toy Division, with $10 for second place and $5 for third. For more information or to register entries for the parade, Bud Hill may be contacted at 246-2968 in the evenings.
Each night of the fair, Wednesday through Saturday, youngsters are invited to sign up at Peach Fair Headquarters for a nightly cash drawing. The drawing will be held each night at eight o'clock at the bandstand. Youngsters must sign up each day for that night's drawing and must be present to win.
A raffle drawing for a Briggs & Stratton engine also will be held during the Fair. Tickets will be available at Peach Fair Headquarters on the Morris-McCutcheon city park fair grounds. They are $1 each or six for $5.
The Peach Fair Board continues to add new events, such as the youth talent contest, with lots of new, young members on the board.
"The Board has been working together to put together a successful event," said Adair. "I know how hard they've worked to make it better than ever."
That bodes well for everyone, including members of the community Proceeds from the Peach Fair are used to help the needy in the community, especially during the holidays. In addition, the Peach Fair board provides Christmas gifts to all the residents of the General Baptist Nursing Home in Campbell and scholarships to deserving graduating seniors at Campbell High School.
"We also make donations to other civic organizations as the need arises," said Adair.