Don’t rain on my parade

Austin County celebrates another win at county fair

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There was something for everyone at this year’s Austin County Fair, including live bands, a parade, livestock showcase and rodeo.

With top-tier performers like Aaron Watson and Tracy Byrd, some folks came for the music.

Hundreds of local kids showcased goats and cattle and won scholarship money for college.

The Oct. 11 parade was one of the favorites in county fair history, as Bellville, Sealy, Blinn College, Faith Academy and numerous local businesses and organizations joined forces to do what Austin County does best: support the local youth.

Following the parade, local dignitaries gathered to celebrate the annual event with grand marshals Leroy and Pat Vornkahl.

Pat Vornkahl reminisced about the days when country legend Garth Brooks performed at the county fair – before they were legends.

“When entertainers come to the fair, they have a contract, and in the contract, they have demands,” Vornkahl explained. “Sometimes they’ll say, ‘In our dressing room we want 24 cases of Budweiser and a small bag of peanuts.’”

Brooks was signed for $7,500 and asked to be paid in cash. When Vornkahl handed the envelope of cash to Garth Brooks’ manager – who happened to be his brother – she said, “What are you going to do when he gets paid $75,000 instead of $7,500?”

The manager didn’t skip a beat, she said.

“I’m waiting for the day,” was his response.

Although this year’s fair may have also showcased some future superstars cranking out some country tunes, other festivities also drew crowds.

Fair Queen Gabrielle Eskew was crowned, along with first runner-up Mackenzie Burke. Other winners included Ticket Queen Meghan Hein and first runner-up Emily Shupak. Jillian Janicek was named Miss Congeniality.

This year was the 91st annual event, held at the county fairgrounds in Bellville.

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