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Blue Ribbon Fun!



The 2004 North Carolina State Fair Horse Show was a large success and offered exhibitors and spectators alike, loads of “blue ribbon fun", which was the motto for this year's show.

A gloomy forecast early in the week gave way to pleasant temperatures and sunny skies. The show’s autumn timing set up a friendly seasonal decor rivalry between several barns. Forever Farm sported a larger-than-life inflatable witch and owner Liz McBride Jones was spotted ringside wearing a witch’s hat herself on several occasions. Joining in the fun, the Heads Up family lit up their barn with pumpkin shaped torches, a flamingo in witch’s guise, and various birthday decorations for trainer Myra Williams. Many other barns added bales of straw, dried corn stalks, pumpkins, and seasonal flowers to their usual displays, giving the show a festive fall atmosphere, perfect for a state fair.

Show manager Glenn Petty and show secretary Scarlett Matson, along with their staff, made the State Fair Horse Show a success despite several obstacles. This year, the fair’s nightly fireworks were moved to a venue directly across from the show arena. This could have been disastrous, but smart planning allowed most of the classes to be completed before the sky show began. Classes not completed were postponed to ensure everyone’s safety. This gave riders and horses the chance to watch as the night sky was lit up with color. The show staff was also very accommodating to exhibitors struggling with the infamous fair traffic. The office even sent utility vehicles to pick up lead liners stranded in the Saturday night sea of cars.

The diverse schedule of horse show classes provides all show goers the opportunity to enjoy many different breeds and disciplines. This year, the Saddlebreds, Morgans, Hackney Ponies, and Roadsters shared the expansive barn area with Arabians, Carriage Horses, Miniature Horses, Mules and Donkeys. In addition to quality competition, show goers also had the chance to enjoy interesting fair exhibits, exciting midway games and rides, and of course, tantalizing fair food. Vendors set up right outside the competition arena fed exhibitors everything from polish sausage and roasted corn to deep fried candy and frozen cheesecake. Many exhibitors succumbed to the temptation and many belts were loosened through the week.

As belts were being loosened, competition tightened. Overall, the division entries were slightly down, but the show certainly didn't decline in quality. Exhibitors came from across North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and several other states to join in the fun. Overall, the show was a great success, and much credit goes to the show staff and volunteers that made it possible. If you missed the fair this year, you missed a great time!

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