If there had been a “Best Costume” award at Tuesday night’s Carter County Fair talent show, Thomas Carroll and Dustin Savage would have walked away with it hands-down.
The Grayson residents performed a rousing duet of George Strait’s “The Fireman” dressed in full firefighter gear.
And neither of them belong to a fire department. The gear was loaned to them, they said, by the Hitchins Volunteer Fire Department.
Carroll’s and Savage’s act — which they said they said they came up with just 24 hours earlier and performed with virtually no rehearsal — was good for first place in the adult division of the talent show, which was one of the highlights of the second night of the fair.
The pair split a $100 first prize and also earned an invitation to come back to the fair on Friday for an encore performance.
First place in the children’s division went to 10-year-old Isabella Miller of Grayson for her performance of Taylor Swift”s “Never Grow Up.”
She said she’d been rehearsing the song every day for three weeks, but couldn’t help being “extremely” nervous singing in front of an audience.
Isabella, a fifth-grader at Star Elementary School, said she chose the song — which tells the age-old story of a child wishing she could grow up faster, but regretting the passing of her childhood when that day comes — simply because she liked it and “it’s not too age-inappropriate.”
Isabella’s mother, Mary Jo Miller, said she was “super-proud” of her daughter’s performance.
In the teen division, 12-year-old Kami Savage of Hitchins chose to go “old school” by singing a song that was topping the charts many years before she was born — “Harper Valley PTA,” the ode to small-town hypocrisy written by Olive Hill native Tom T. Hall.
“I’m a member of the Heritage Hoedowners and we preserve Appalachian heritage. We sing that song in the group,” Savage said when asked how she was familiar with the tune.
Savage’s performance earned her a second-place finish in her division. The top spot went to Mallory Aronhalt of Olive Hill. She sang an original number entitled “Down a Back Road,” which she said was written by a friend of hers, Bo Fuller, who lives in Nashville and allows her to perform his compositions.
The 16-year-old West Carter High School junior, who performed at this year’s Carter County Thunder, said she had aspirations of becoming a professional singer.
WUGO/WGOH radio personality Tim Carper and Kristin Brown, Miss Carter County Fair 2013, served as judges for the show.
Tuesday evening’s weather at the fair was slightly muggy, but not terribly uncomfortable. Fair treasurer and board chair Cindy Gibson said organizers were grateful for the heat on Monday and Tuesday because it helped dry the fairgrounds out after several days of soaking rain.
Tuesday was also the first day for the carnival rides at the fair. Gibson said those were being provided this year by a new company, Paradise Amusements of Florida, which also does the rides for the Kentucky State Fair.
“We were really lucky to catch up with these guys on short notice,” she said.
The fair, which runs through Saturday, co tinues at 6 this evening. Highlights will inclue a mud sling, wood-carving exhibition and gospel music on the main stage.
KENNETH HART can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2654.