The 2021 Kosciusko County Fair kicked off on Sunday, July 11, with a parade and opening ceremonies. Payton Slaymaker was posthumously honored as the grand marshal of the parade. Shown is a garbage truck that is part of the family’s business, Stafford’s Solid Waste, that was decorated for the parade. Her family rode in the parade. InkFreeNews photos by Leah Sander.
By Leah Sander
WARSAW — A few sprinkles didn’t stop people from turning out on Sunday, July 11, for the start of the Kosciusko County Fair.
The 2021 fair week started Sunday with the traditional parade and opening ceremonies. This year’s fair theme is Just Trotting Along.
Fair organizers and the public seemed to take the theme to heart as they showed up for events despite a slight drizzle.
The parade made its way from the Warsaw Police Station on Fort Wayne Street to the entrance of the fairgrounds at Bronson and Smith streets.
Payton Slaymaker, the Claypool youngster who passed away in April after a battle with cancer, was chosen posthumously as the parade’s grand marshal.
Her parents, Kim and Andrew Slaymaker, and little sister Avery Slaymaker, rode near the start of the parade in her place. They were atop a Stafford’s Solid Waste garbage truck that was decked out in Payton’s favorite colors and with the messages “PaytonStrong” and “Fear is a Liar.”
“We are honored and humbled … that they would ask us,” Kim Slaymaker said before the parade. She noted Payton had been in Mini 4-H.
“We’re extremely honored, so thankful that they were thinking of her,” added Andrew Slaymaker. “She would love this; we’re proud to be in it for her today.”
At the opening ceremonies for the fair held at the horse arena, members of the Kosciusko County 4-H Horse and Pony Club presented the U.S., state and 4-H flags.
Kosciusko County Fair Board President Kevin Harris welcomed the public to the fair. After a moment of silence for those in the Kosciusko fair family that passed away recently and a prayer, he introduced the other members of the fair board.
He also thanked staff and volunteers among others.
Members of Cub Scout Pack 3736 of Warsaw pose atop their float before the parade. The pack is led by Christopher Hahn, and this is the first time they’ve been in the fair parade. From left: Alec Weaver, Mason Weaver, Brantley Bussard, Sydney Stump, Logan Hahn, Lukas Kosins, Zoey Hahn, Luke Vander Bie and Jackson Stump.
Members of Echoes of the Past get organized behind the Warsaw Police Station before the parade. The club had about 30 tractors in the parade.
Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Shane Bucher drove a retro police car in the parade.
A few parade entrants opted to take a selfie as they neared the entrance of the fairgrounds.
Some of the crowd that attended despite a light sprinkling of rain.
Kosciusko County 4-H Horse and Pony Club member Mayson McCoy, right, holds the American flag for the playing of the National Anthem during the fair’s opening ceremonies at the horse arena. Holding the banner are Lane Bays, left, and Eli Shepherd, center.
Kosciusko County Fair Board President Kevin Harris, left, talks during the opening ceremonies. Shown with him are the other board members.
Miss Kosciusko County from last year, Madelyn Zimmerman, right, introduced the 2021 royalty during the opening ceremonies. With her from left are: Miss Congeniality Austine Swanson, Third Runner-up Brittany Duncan, Second Runner-up Kali Wolf, First Runner-up Gabrielle Sigler and 2021 Miss Kosciusko County Cassadi Colbert.