• October 23, 2019

Permian Basin Fair returns with new attractions - Odessa American: Ector County

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Permian Basin Fair returns with new attractions

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  • West Texas Flair

    Executive Director of Entertainment Mary Martin touches up picture cutouts the Volunteers are beginning to set up in the barns for the Permian Basin Faur & Expo at the Ector County Coliseum.

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 5:00 am

The Permian Basin Fair and Exposition is back with carnival classics and new attractions for fairgoers.

The Ector County Coliseum fairgrounds have been transformed with help from volunteers and vendors to accommodate a variety of events and offerings. Swimming swine, miniature golf, livestock events and carnival rides are some of the entertainment options available Aug. 30 through Sept. 8 during the fair’s 44th anniversary.

Permian Basin Fair President Mike Lemons said pig racing is not a new event to the fair, but this year the attraction will have an added twist. The Swifty Swine swimming and racing pig show travels across the country and will make a stop in Ector County to offer visitors a chance to experience water stunts performed by trained pigs.

Motorsport competitions for garden tractor pulls will also be held at the fairgrounds to see whose tractor can pull a mechanical weight transfer machine the farthest to determine the strongest machine and the best driver.

The fair will have a West Texas flair and include Comanche Moon Fast Draw and vendor items like roasted elote Mexican street-style corn to enjoy while watching pageants and performances.

The elements that highlight local talent such as art displays and arena events are what Lemons says makes the county fair special.

“There’s art, crocheted blankets people have made and there are people that do welding projects — you come up with an idea, you build it and it can be entered in some category at the fair,” Lemons said. “I’ve entered everything from very small leatherwork items myself to a few years ago when I entered a Christmas tree made of horseshoes that was about nine feet tall. If you can get it in the door, they’ll find a place to put it and it will be in a category show.”

Bob Williams is the fair’s farming and ranching executive director and has been volunteering his time supporting the fair since 1989.

“I just enjoy working with people and contestants,” he said.

Williams oversees all arena events like barrel racing, Charreada rodeo, cattle dog trials and more. He said the fair is really a celebration of West Texas and agriculture.

His commitment to the fair stems from a desire to support the educational aspirations of youth.

Since 1975, the Permian Basin Fair has awarded more than $900,000 in area scholarships, their website states. Scholarships are given each year in multiple categories including farming and ranching, creative arts and special events.

Permian Basin participants can earn a combined total of about $40,000 in scholarships this year.

Williams said it is not uncommon for a fair volunteer to work up to 50 hours in the span of a week while helping prepare the Ector County Coliseum for the annual event, but for him and many others the time is well spent.

“We have people who are willing to put so much effort into helping their community,” Lemons said.

Anna Mercado has volunteered for about nine years assisting with administrative work, helping set up stall barns for farming and ranching events and preparing buildings to house vendors.

“My husband and I like to volunteer here because this is a nonprofit organization and everything they do here goes towards scholarships,” Mercado said. “For us, we’ll do anything for the kids.”

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Odessa, TX

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