Lamar - An annual summer tradition wraps up Saturday evening in Lamar.
The 73rd Annual Lamar Free Fair has been happening all this week on the town square. Live stock shows, arts and crafts, and, of course, rides, have brought people from all over to the state's largest free fair. Barton County Chamber of Commerce CEO Astra Ferris says by the time things wrap up, thousands of people will have passed through the town this week.
"The week of the fair we expect several thousand, so I would say well over 10,000 people attend," Ferris says. "We're the largest free fair in the state of Missouri, and this has been a long-standing tradition that everyone supports, and it's a great time."
Ferris says several Barton county civic groups have also used the fair as a fundraiser. Members of the Lamar Lions Club tell us this is their biggest fundraiser of the year. The Lions will use the money they raise selling food at the fair for several projects, including providing eye glasses for school kids. Members of the club say it has become an annual tradition for them to serve good food and help out a worthy cause.
"I want to give back to the community that I live in, and that's the way that I've always kind of looked at it," says Lion Craig Lehman. "My kids asked me the same thing, you know, I'm getting to the age that I should slow down and enjoy it. I said, 'You know, I enjoy (working at the Lions Club pavilion), because I've done it for so many years, and we have fun.'"
Lehman says the most popular items on the menu are chili cheese sussie-q's and pulled pork. On average, the Lamar Lions Club is able to raise about $10,000 from the fair. This year, Lehman says the crowds have been great most nights, and it should be successful once again.