The Troy Fair is the largest event in Bradford County, drawing thousands to Alparon Park every summer for a full week of whirling neon rides, greasy food, tractor pulls, demo derbies and 4H shows galore. With such large crowds a wide variety of characters emerge, many of which I’m sure you’ll see next week — and let’s be honest, some of which you identify with yourself.
These young men and women are donned from head to toe in white “show clothes” splattered with a delightful mixture of dirt and manure and have a number harnessed to their chest. They can most often be seen scurrying around the barns, arena and wash rack with hay possibly sticking out of their hair. They probably haven’t slept in anything other than a lawn chair in days and have an entourage of parents carrying clippers, hoof polish and a shovel, trying to keep themselves and their children from completely losing it when Bessy lays down in the show ring again.
The city folk
Dressed in the newest Nike kicks, Louis Vuitton purse or Ray Ban sunglasses, these rare fairgoers are could be spotted at the center court ATM (cash only?!) and scouring the grounds for that one vegan food truck. Most likely they’ve traveled quite a distance and happen to be visiting family members during Bradford County’s finest summer festivity where they are perplexed with the details of what in the world a Cactus Tator or tractor pull is. When venturing into the cattle barns little Jimmy points and yells “it’s pooooooopingg!” and mom pulls out her iPhone XS Max to record said cow pies.
The Shane Wilber
Your friendly hometown country radio personality/sports broadcaster, Shane hosts the Troy Fair Queen Pageant and annual Milk Mania Day Moo Off — but will more likely be spotted in the Wiggle 100 booth halfway through his seventh milkshake of the week (by Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.)
The hypnotized insta-star
That one guy that was hypnotized and danced like Britney, quacked like a duck and almost threw his shoes in the creek because they were “as hot as lava.” At the end of the show he wakes up in his seat and casually asks his wife if she’d like a snowcone — incredibly confused about why everyone keeps staring at him and snickering with their friends.
Pristinely clean and gemmed cowboy boots, daisy dukes, flannel shirt, braids and cowboy hat aside this girl hasn’t ever set foot near a stable but is #SUPEREXCITED to look like she’s a barn savvy #COUNTRYGIRL while dancing along to the concert on Wednesday night and documenting it on social media.
The demo derby devotee
Friday and Saturday night of fair week rolls around and you won’t see derby drivers anywhere but the track putting finishing touches on their car “Earl’s Revenge.” The driver has sunk multiple hours, lots of smack talk and many hundreds of dollars into his “baby” and “if those (expletive deleted) welds don’t hold someone’s going to get it.” Family members and friends of the Demo Derby Devotee can be found stocking up on Mountain Dew and staking out seats pre-show — they probably won’t be sitting in the first few rows of the grandstands though, the mud and rocks that get flung up from the cars carry as high a velocity as the night’s Mad Dog award winner.
The local royalty
Fair queens, dairy princesses and maple sweethearts, oh my! These ladies peruse the fairgrounds in crowns and sashes posing for photos, handing out free tootsie rolls and cheese sticks, announcing contests, making milkshakes and more as they represent their respective agricultural commodities. They also are probably trying to cover their sweat and the stress-inflamed spats of the week with smiles as they maneuver their way through the barns in fancy dresses and keep the same smile as Jimmy drops nacho cheese on their silk sash.
The junior fair board zombie
The deep crimson of their polo shirt is matched only by the slight red outline of their eyes as junior fair board members scurry to take surveys, make announcements, run lower meadow tent events and aid in making sure there are no major fair meltdowns. Fair week isn’t the start of hard work for these teens but rather the cherry on top as they’ve most likely spent weeks crafting circus animals out of cardboard, organizing Senior Day activities and the like...no need to run if their arms begin to stick straight out in front of them, just identify the glaze in their eyes and return them to the main office.
The food court camper
These guests have entered the grounds to complete one main mission: to sample the annual delicacies of funnel cake, hot sausage sandwiches, fried snickers and stuffed pretzels. Often occupying some of the tables or benches in center court, these fairgoers may even have come with a preplanned list of essential treats from drool worthy fried mushrooms (Two Dippy Sisters) to the best pizza (John the Greek of course) and the cheapest deal (a footlong hotdog at the Sunset Ice Cream stand). Sure gate admission is pretty steep just to pay more for food inside but one whiff of Hall’s fudge may be enough to sway you.
The teenage strollers
The fair brings with it a simple something for teens to do — and so becomes refuge to today’s youth who are often already bored of other summer activities. Sometimes found desperately trying to conquer carnival games to win oversized stuffed animals for their crush or impress others with shenanigans, they can also be found in a wide variety of stereotypes wandering the grounds (but probably not in the bingo tent) or making themselves at home on quiet patch of grass to just chill.
These guys are the dedicated roadies of the Troy Fair. They load up their RV’s with supplies, take the whole week off work and camp right on the grounds, making the last full week in July the family festivity of the year. Soaking in the whole shebang, the vacationers fully dive into Troy Fair atmosphere — it may not be Florida, but hey, they’re determined to have a good time.