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Fair produces many touching stories

August 26, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

There are touching stories everywhere, and the one that moved my heart recently came about at the Jefferson County Fair.

Brooke Piergallini came to the Herald-Star tent and showed me a story written on her most significant role model, which was needed for application for the junior fair queen candidate.

It was on her grandmother, Lucille Piergallini, someone I know well as we went to school together since seventh grade and had several children at the same time.

I am going to include here Brooke's story word for tender word. You will see the love shining through for this great lady who is now facing a debilitating illness.

There are many important people in my life but my Grandma Lucille stands out the most. She raised five boys, ran a farm and operated numerous businesses with my grandfather, Ray.

My grandmother has 17 grandchildren and has always made time for each of us. Growing up, she made us all feel that we were special to her. She is quiet, gracious and is always willing to help those in need.

My grandmother never went to college. She married at age 18 and had her first child at age 19.

My grandparents started out with practically nothing, living in a two- bedroom house with four kids. They worked hard to make ends meet. In the 1950s, they bought the family farm and have been there ever since.

My happiest memories with my grandma were on the farm, feeding the animals and picking fresh vegetables from the garden. Grandma was a former 4-H club adviser, so naturally, it was she who took me to my first Jefferson County Fair as a child.

I remember a day full of carnival rides, seeing the animals and eating lots of goodies. It was through my grandma that I yearned to become involved in 4-H and the county fair.

Every year, my grandmother was the one who planned family get-togethers at the fair so I could enjoy time with my extended family, as all my cousins were 4-H members as well.

My grandma created many wonderful memories for our family but those special times are slowly starting to fade.

My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease one year ago. She is fighting this disease with the same grace and determination she has with all obstacles in her life.

The more she forgets, the more I remember. In time, she may not even know who I am. But I will always remember the strong, independent woman who made family the most important aspect of her life. I only hope I can emulate these qualities in my life.

I missed seeing Stella Puskarich at the fair this year. She has been a standby as far as I am concerned. If you need a lift, just seeing this lovely lady would do it.

She and Donnelle Tonner have been part of the poultry and rabbit division for many years and Stella was such a good influence on the fair board that they named her fair grand marshal one year, a lofty title.

Since my son Larry's death, I have had three cards from her, the last coming just two weeks ago, at a time when I really needed it most.


The Piney Fork American Legion Post 735 stepped in to serve as the parade honor guard when there was a last-minute cancellation.

Taking part were Ed Waldman, Tony Phillippi and the two Wally Jancuras, senior and junior.

Loretta Finney was the announcer, something she has done for about eight years. She comes from a family of fair board members, as her dad, John Finney, served on the board from 1972 until 1994, upon his death. He was there when the fair picked up and moved from inside the village of Smithfield out to the strip mine hills of Friendship Park.

Loretta started in the Trail Riders 4-H Club in Mount Pleasant 52 years ago and is very faithful to the 4-H cause. She has seen youth from her years as a 4-H member and adviser grow up to have kids who were in 4-H and they go on to raise children who knew the four H's of the organization - head, heart, hands and health.

During the parade, one of the saddle unit horses took a potty break on the track. Makenzie Householder was riding by in a Gator and announced, "We need a cleanup in aisle 5."


We received two great gifts when buying at the junior fair livestock auction.

With our purchase of a pen of three market chickens, Emily Lamantia presented us with a fall-decorated package of cups and glasses that held either hot or cold liquid and kept them that way for hours on end; packets of cold latte mixes in various flavors; flavored coffee creamers; homemade biscotti; and flavored straws for sipping a chocolate drink.

Nicolas Molinaro gave us everything we need for Thanksgiving with our purchase of a turkey. There was an aluminum roaster with handles, filled to the brim with a box of oven roasting bags, turkey baster, poultry thermometer, autumn-designed potholders and oven mitt, cranberry stuffing mix, a jar of roasted turkey gravy, little white ruffled sox to put on the drumstick feet of the turkey when done - quite classy; a container of chicken broth; a bag of noodle dumplings; and a dozen iced pumpkin cookies.

I have known the Molinaro boys since they were quite small. I remember taking their pictures when they were entered in the animal costume contest as little guys, another time looking at entries of scarecrows that were placed outside the 7th and 8th department, and now I took a picture of them all together with their wins in the poultry department.

In asking their ages, Chris Molinaro, mom, said that Paul was 16; Anthony was 11 and Nicolas was 10. "What am I talking about?" she gasped. "They are twins and both the same age." I thought that was an example of how we get so busy at the fair that we get confused. I know I did that many times. I would look at a 4-H member who I knew for years and say, "I've forgotten your name."

I could not believe my eyes when I saw Joelle Bensie coming up the midway covered with mud. It seems that she took part in the mud bog and was doing great for a time but lost out in the last second. I wonder if her daughter, Autumn, knew who she was when she saw her.


The chase was on when the 62-pound market goat raised by little Austin Heath of the Barshoe Wranglers saw its opportunity to take off out the side entrance, after being purchased by Sheriff Fred Abdalla.

It was rescued by one of the livestock sales committee and brought back to the applause from the audience.


The insert on all the 4-H winnings is to be published today, and if any photos are not included, they should be put into the local section as space is available. If you don't see them then, call me. Some pictures did not have identifications and caused a problem.

I need to apologize to Owen Long of Smithfield for putting in the wrong 4-H club in his winning of the reserve champion market rabbits. He is a member of the Lassos and Lace 4-H Club.


I wanted to extend my sympathy to the Wetherell family on the death of Ross Wetherell. His wife, Joyce, a Liberty Gals and Guys 4-H Club adviser, had the members carry on with the decorating of the fair booth and the parade.

D.J. Wetherell, a club member, was the winner of the design-a-thank-you-card contest. I wonder if they will have it printed for use in thanking livestock buyers?

Linda Daily's brother, Robert "Pappy" Hardman, died during the fair on Aug. 15. Linda was there working as much as possible because she knew it was necessary. Sympathy to that family as well.


The Ridge Hoppers are to be congratulated for winning the most outstanding flower bed contest.

It was located by the poultry and rabbit barn, where most of Donnelle Tonner's members are located. It included a bunny decoration that looked appropriate as well.


The baked goods auction brought in about $1,600, according to Dawna Kale, who helped me set up in the tent each morning. This will enable the 7th and 8th department to make additions to the building. The back section looks very nice right now. Nice work, Loretta.


That's about all for my exciting fair week. Thanks to all who helped me out and to the Purple Circle 4-H Club who fed me.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at

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