LOGANSPORT — Joyce Bower has lived and breathed 4-H fairs every summer since she joined 4-H at about 9 years old.
Crowned Miss Cass County in 1976, Bower went on to be part of the 4-H Queen Contest committee as an adult. She took a break from the committee for the last five to seven years while her daughters participated in the pageant, but this year, she’s returned to head up the decorating.
Bower, a teacher at Thompson Elementary, spent three to four hours a day for two weeks after school ended painting a plywood backdrop to resemble New Orleans’ French Quarter for tonight’s Mardi Gras-themed Queen Contest. The backdrop went up last week at the pageant stage in the fairgrounds’ exhibition building, along with green, purple and black tulle, matching Mardi Gras masks and plenty of faux greenery.
Tonight’s queen contest kicks off the 2012 Cass County 4-H Fair at 7 p.m. This will be the county fair’s 52nd year at the current location.
The pageant is the first of several events taking place each evening this week at the fair. The one that’s likely to draw the biggest crowd will happen at 8 p.m. Thursday when country musician Justin Moore will perform before at least 2,300 fans gathered in the fair’s tractor pull arena.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever had a paid concert out here at all,” said Mark Musall, the president of the fair board.
About 2,300 tickets had been sold online as of Friday afternoon at $22 a pop. Tickets will also be available at the fair.
The fair board decided to hold the concert to raise funds for the fair.
Other alternatives were to institute parking or admission fees, which the board did not want to do.
“That’s one thing we really pride ourselves on,” Musall said. “We’re a free fair, with free parking and free admission.”