Artisans, farmers, gardeners and needleworkers of Madison County gathered in the Willis exhibit Hall at the county's fairgrounds to submit their entries before judging and the final exhibit Friday evening, which will kick off the 75th annual Madison County Fair and Horse Show.

Those who turn in their entries will have a chance at the start of the week-long fair to see if they claimed a ribbon in categories such as photography, sewing, crafts, quilts, horticulture and gardening, to name a few.

Herb Goodman, for example, turned in a box full of photographs and several baskets to be judged, as he has done year after year.

"Oh gosh, I have been submitting items in the fair since I moved to town," Goodman said. "So it's been about 12 to 15 years."

Goodman was one of 104 exhibitors that participated in the event last year, with 499 total entries in 2018.

New at the fair this year is a honey exhibit featuring 11 different classifications such as which depend on the color of the honey and whether it includes the honeycomb.

Following the exhibit opening at 6 p.m. Friday will be a fair favorite, the mud run, starting at 7 p.m.

Brandon Sears, Madison County Extension Office agent for agriculture and natural resources, said the fair will feature the same familiar family favorites like the mud run, Paradise Amusement carnival rides and truck and tractor pulls.

Amanda Sears, Madison County Extension Office agent for horticulture, and Brandon Sears' wife, noted other county fair favorites that would be returning this year, like beauty and baby pageants, which she said bring in a large crowd.

"They definitely see the most people, bringing out family and friends to cheer them on," she said. "I don't see how those judges do it though, I can barely judge a pair of vegetables, much less judge babies."

The popular rabbit show was brought back again for the 2019 fair, after making its reappearance last year after being gone for nearly a decade.

Amanda Sears believes seven kids are participating in the rabbit show this year.

Her and her husband agreed the most popularly attended day is Sunday on Family Fun Day, when admission is free for the exhibits and day events, but rides are $5 at the gate. The antique tractor show, Richmond Motorsports, country ham project spotlight and a magician are all featured that day.

Carnival rides will run throughout the weekend and week, as well as the Foggy Bottom Petting Zoo and the antique tractor exhibit.

"I like the petting zoo a lot because you get to see all the cute little animals," Amanda Sears said.

Prices will be the same as last year, where fair-goers pay at the gate, and the cost covers admission to the fair and for the carnival rides. On July 26-27 and Aug. 2-3, the cost is $12, and from July 29-Aug. 1, the cost is $10. July 28 is Family Fun Day, when admission to the fair is free, and the cost for the carnival will be $5.

For a full schedule of events, visit themadisoncountyfair.com/pages/2019-fair-schedule.php.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.

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