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Coosa Valley Fair opens Tuesday: A Butterfly Encounter is among the new attractions this year

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It’s time to satisfy the corn dog and funnel cake cravings while encountering clouds of butterflies. The 69th annual Coosa Valley Fair opens Tuesday at the fairgrounds at 1400 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, and continues through Saturday.

The Coosa Valley Fair Association, affiliated with the Exchange Club of Rome, is being led this year by Rome banker Bryan Shealy.

A new feature at the fair this year is a Butterfly Encounter. Fairgoers will have an opportunity to get up close in a netted garden setting. “They’ll get a nectar stick to feed the butterflies and, for a small fee, they can get a butterfly house to take home with them,” Shealy said. “I understand it has a cocoon in it that they can watch go through the life cycle and release in their own yard.”

There will be a pedal tractor race for children; chainsaw carver Jeremy Smith will demonstrate his craft this year in addition to all of the usual activities in the Village, Community and Art buildings. Shealy said Smith was featured on the Food Network Pumpkin carving contest in October 2016.

Competition will take place in everything from floral arrangements to photography, vegetable canning and much more.

The annual scholastic spirit competition will kick off the fair Tuesday night. Beauty pageants will take place Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. A special Senior Miss Coosa Valley Fair pageant for ladies over the age of 60 will take place Thursday afternoon.

The Floyd County Sheriff’s office will feature an “escape house” where clues must be solved in order to find your way out.

The petting zoo is back again this year along with the livestock shows and all the popcorn, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, cotton candy and funnel cakes Northwest Georgians could ever eat.

Wade Shows, founded in Michigan in 1912 by Lee Wade, will once again provide the rides on the midway.

The fair opens Tuesday night at 5 p.m. with $18 armbands good for unlimited rides on the midway. Gates open at 5 p.m. Wednesday, 1 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.

Shealy said the weather forecast is looking good for the whole week and he’s hoping for better than 90,000 visitors over the five-day run of the fair. Funds generated by the fair are used to support local charities, particularly the Exchange Club Family Resource Center for the prevention of child abuse.