MOUNT VERNON -- Showcase of the Bands began with 13-year-old East Knox student Jaidyn Hawkins belting out country bluegrass and gospel Friday.
Hawkins, along with her grandfather Jim Hawkins and several other Knox County residents, filled the sticky Friday afternoon air with high energy vocal harmonies.
Their band, Show Down, played first out of a lineup of local musical talent at the Midway Stage. The showcase of local bands was a new addition to the fair schedule this year, and Jim Hawkins said he jumped on the opportunity to perform locally.
“We just enjoy the community,” Hawkins said.
Several of the band members have been playing together since the mid-1980s.
“We just enjoy getting together and jamming,” Hawkins said.
Children and families watched on, at times singing along and playing tambourines and drums provided by the fair.
The youngest performer of the day, Jobey Hawkins, 6, joined Show Down for a few songs, including Take Me Home, Country Roads.
Show Down’s members are from various villages in Knox County, including from Mount Vernon: Greg Talbott, Steve Frye and Jim Hawkins; from Fredericktown: Allen McCarty and Todd Bryan; and from East Knox, the youngest band members: Jaidyn and Jobey Hawkins.
After a brief break, Jimmy & Frank took the stage, followed by The Rapid Jags, who are based out of Licking County.
The band — composed of Logan Gallant, 17, Aidan Schaffer, 19, and Jack Lutz, 18 — has been together for five years.
Friday was their first time at the Knox County Fair.
“We’re excited to play somewhere different,” Lutz said, explaining that they usually play in Licking and Columbus.
Sarah Goff from nearby Mansfield, Ohio, played next and sang all original songs.
Goff, an indie singer and songwriter, has been performing for 15 years but singing all her life.
Being able to play at venues again after COVID-19 lockdowns has been incredible, Goff said, and she is grateful to have been able to bring her music to Knox County Friday.
“Music to me is medicine,” Goff said, especially after a year of uncertainty.