Ellenboro Elementary's Colfax Free Fair has benefited Ellenboro High, Ellenboro School and Ellenboro Elementary since its beginning in the 1930s. This year the annual event, which serves as a fundraiser for the school, will be held Sept. 20-24 at the old Ellenboro School fairgrounds.
"A.B. Bushong, who worked at Ellenboro High School, started the fair," said Bill Bass, principal of Ellenboro Elementary. "It started as a way for students to display their projects and for the community to learn about agriculture."
Exhibits remain a large part of the fair still today, Bass continued, with those who provide displays being creative.
The fair is a tradition families continue to support year after year, Bass said. Now in his 19th year at Ellenboro, he's now seeing former students return to the fair and bringing their own children.
"It's always wonderful seeing infants come to the fair for the first time, and then seeing them come back year after year as they grow," he said.
Planning the fair coincides with planning for a new academic year for the school, and Bass said his staff works extremely hard to prepare for both.
"Frank Wall, who is a former principal, once said this was one of the few schools were you were principal and fair manager," he said, laughing. "We are very appreciative of the Board of Education letting us use the property for the fair each year."
The community's support is also instrumental, he continued. The Ellenboro Fire Department aids with parking and the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office provides security. Local food vendors return each year with roasted corn, candy and caramel apples, vinegar fries and more.
"I think the fact that the fair has continued to be very popular really says something," Bass added. "I think it is one of the largest five days events in the county."
Proceeds from the fair have in the past been used for technology upgrades, classroom supplies and playground upgrades. Proceeds will again go toward a need in the school, he said, and when the fair does well, no other fundraisers are planned at the school.
"If we have good weather, we do really well," he said. "I'm praying for that this year."