BERRYVILLE — A steady rain and a little thunder and lightning early Thursday afternoon failed to dampen people’s moods at the 65th annual Clarke County Fair.

Jen Pelton glanced at the sky.

“I thought it (the storm) was going to go around,” Pelton said as she and her co-workers from the Loudoun County Public Schools, Ann Smith and Susie Jacobs, ate a snack under a shelter while waiting for the rain to end.

“As soon as we get home, the sun will come out,” Jacobs predicted. “I thought it was going to be sunny all day.”

Smith and Pelton live in Clarke County, but Jacobs lives in Maryland. All three enjoy visiting the fair, talking with people they meet and looking at the animal exhibits.

“There’s friendly people here,” Jacobs said. “The animals are beautiful, and they’re well taken care of.”

“It’s good to see kids working with the animals” instead of playing computer games, she added. Her colleagues agreed.

Two boys figured that as muddy as the fairgrounds got, they could enjoy getting dirty without getting into trouble.

Benjamin Michael, 7, and Koulton Koon, 5, splashed in a pool of brown water that collected around some traffic cones and barrels.

“You cannot keep them out of the mud,” said their grandmother, Sandy Nutter, who oversees the rabbit barn at the fair. “I just let them go. They love it!”

The rain eventually went away, except for an occasional sprinkle, and the crowds grew larger as the day went on.

Hope Cather, who handles paperwork for the animal exhibits, said it was better for rain to come during the day rather than at night, when the fair is the busiest.

— Contact Mickey Powell at

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