New and old traditions alike help kick off Pineywoods Fair

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Pineywoods Fair in Nacogdoches started on Wednesday and KTRE got a chance to get a sneak peak at some of the newest and oldest traditions at the neighborhood fair.

From happy smiles at the carnival to funnel cakes at Kay's concession stand the overall consensus is this year's fair is off to a great start and one of the biggest draws this year is the vendors.

"We always have a new turnout on our vendors ever year. We do have some that have been here for 20 plus years, but we have some that this is their first year so I'm hoping that they don't only come back next year with our 20-year veterans but they bring in more new ones as well," Wendy Lee, the assistant director for the Nacogdoches Expo and Civic Center, said.

Rodney Robinson has been bringing East Texas Tractor and Powersports to the fair for the past 10 years.

"The one thing that I like is that you get to see a lot of people that sometimes only come into the store once or twice and out here you get them in a comfortable environment to where you can talk product and you can answer any questions they may have," Robinson said.

But that's not all that's new this year. At the petting zoo, a 60-pound African Spurred Tortoise made his debut and the cool thing about the heavy guy is that he is the third largest species of tortoise in the world.

Venetia Lunsford has been the director and coordinator for the Pineywoods Cheer and Dance Competition for the past six years and while she says the competition this year isn't different, there has been a great turnout.

"[I've enjoyed] being able to interact with the girls and watching the talent that we have in East Texas—watching the girls develop their skills as cheerleaders and dancers," Lunsford said.

15 teams competed in the competition on Wednesday. Lunsford says Wednesday's competition was for 3A East Texas schools and the competition on Saturday will be for 2A East Texas schools.

Lee says they are expecting nearly 90,000 people to show up to the fair this year, and she says the profits they raise from carnival goers really goes back into the economy.

"I mean not only with bringing people in from out of town [but] our hotels get revenue as well. Our local businesses and restaurants they prosper off of it because our restaurants have people come into eat so you don't think about it, but it brings in revenue for them…and for the county," Lee said.

Thursday night at the fair will be bring a buddy night. For every person who buys tickets to the carnival, a buddy gets to ride for free. Friday will be the last special for the fair with coca-cola midnight madness. If you bring in one empty coke product you can get an armband for $12.

The fair will last until Sunday and admission is $5 and free for kids under the age of three.

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