Fair season around the area is rapidly approaching. I am not sure many people fully understand just how important of a role that the fair plays in our communities. In many local communities it is the only time of the year that everyone in the county comes out to see the sights, visit with friends and to work as a team for the community. People that may not even speak to each other during the year work side by side to collect gate receipts, work the food booth, or serve as office staff. Yes, even more so than for the Friday night football games or Saturday Soccer extravaganzas the community comes together at the fair. Quite often, people living in surrounding counties or towns can’t tell you where the county seat or the local high school is but they can tell you where the fairground’s is located.
For many children, it is the highlight of the summer – for some a stage or a place to share a year’s worth of work. Many times it is the family’s vacation and it is a lot less expensive than a trip to the beach or Busch Gardens. Of course, there were the ribbons and trophies, but looking back, the water fights at the water rack and the conversations with friends and learning to be a humble winner and a gracious participant were just as important.
Then there are the fantastic stories that everyone continues to share:
• The time the exhibitors parents banded together to purchase a project animal for $35 per lb. to support a family who had recently experienced a tragedy.
• Memories of that night after the big concert where you saw your son or daughter holding “the one” close and stealing a kiss just before their parent arrived to take them home.
• The first time various people sat in the local dunking booth for charity and suddenly realized their friends were buying tickets for the local star pitcher continuously keep them under water.
• The quiet kid who stole the local “talent” show while proving to the community they could really sing.
• The hard working youth winning that champion steer or lamb banner that, even though it’s now faded and frayed, brings back a sense of pride and still hangs as a reminded of accomplishment in her room.
• The taste of chicken barbeque, corndogs, fried Oreo’s or pie from the ladies of the church booth.
Fair week can be a test of stamina for kids and patience for the families and volunteers operating on about five hours of sleep during fair week only to be bright and smiling for the judge at the next event or the crowd at the next event.
Take time to visit the fair, take in the sights, create memories, support and strengthen your community.