FAIRBURY – Eric Fugate is returning to his area roots as he is the new swine superintendent for the Fairbury Fair.
The Mahomet resident and son of longtime fair secretary and former swine superintendent, Bill Fugate oversaw Wednesday’s show at Fairbury. Fugate has many fond memories of a fair which he spent quite a bit of time at as a child.
“I thought I was a pretty big wiz because I could come here and get free ride tickets for the carnival and eat corn dogs,” Fugate recalled.
The one trophy Fugate kept from all of his years showing pigs is the 1976 red, white and blue stars and stripes trophy he won here. His very first fair was the Livingston County event in Pontiac which led to a career of trophy wins and excitement.
After graduating from Forrest-Strawn-Wing High School, Fugate went to the University of Illinois.
Fugate married a woman with a pig background and his daughter will be a junior at Iowa State. She has been showing since she was three years old and the family has been to shows from New York to California and everywhere in between.
“It wasn’t a question of if but when she showed her first pig,” Fugate said.
Fugate got some of his friends involved with the Fairbury Fair show.
“With some of the turnover we had this year in terms of needing more superintendents, (my dad) kind of guilted me into coming back and doing it.”
This year’s swine show had around 120 hogs and included two judges. Fairbury is unique in the fact that it has two shows in one day.
“The kids can show their pigs twice and take home some extra ribbons and banners,” Fugate explained. “Then in the middle of the day, we take a break when everybody brings a covered dish and we have an old-fashioned potluck out there.”
Meat for the potluck is supplied by members of the Ifft family, who grill pork burgers for those in attendance. Many of those participating at the Fairbury Fair Wednesday were fresh off the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.