It has been county fair week around here for the past three weeks. The fair that I attended as a child closed yesterday. The fair that I spent nineteen years doing publicity and advertising for opens next week. This week it is a neighboring county's turn.
The county fair is an American tradition. Most of the fairs have a long history. Although they began as agricultural affairs, they have expanded their programming to attract even the most reluctant participants. People have been enticed to attend the fairs by offering quality entertainment.
People attend county fairs for many reasons. One of the best reasons to attend a fair is that you see all of the people around the area. It is just the place to be during the week the fair is open.
Once again the family and I plan to attend. Although we all have campers, we will be back and forth as jobs and obligations demand. I take the dog with me. I believe when I pull into those fairgrounds she knows where she is. Instead of staying on the seat she sits up to see all that is going on. Hannah is a willing participant in the fair. I dubbed her the top of the hill greeter. No one passes the camper without her scrutiny. No other dog enters the area without her barking at them.
What do I like most about the fair? I think I like the camping. Our family has a wonderful week of togetherness. We take turns cooking meals. Whatever we take is free game for anyone. Usually the oldest grandson helps me load things into the camper so he knows what I have. He always asks, but he is anxious to open some of the goodies.
My granddaughter has a calf again this year. She has been taking it out so it gets used to walking on a leash for the show. I am not sure why she likes to do this, but she really does. Her mother and her uncle used to show calves when they were that age, too.
I grew up a city girl, but felt very country as I worked with the children and their calves. Showing is an art. The people who show cows are a devoted bunch. They employ many unusual techniques for keeping the animals clean.
My children were young when they showed cows so it required a lot of supervision. I was in those barns from sun up to sun down especially on show days. My daughter's calf was really spunky one year so I was up walking around the grounds early on show day. That helped some but my daughter still had to really take control. My son's animal was in heat on show day. That made for some very difficult moments for a small boy who stood a head shorter than his animal. He borrowed an animal for the showmanship class because his cow just would not cooperate and caused all kinds of confusion in the ring.
When I think of the fair I think mostly of people. The board was a congenial group of people who worked very hard to make the week a memorable one every year. While we worked together we became friends. This past July I lost two friends from the board. Dave joined the same time I did. He was at the helm of the organization for many years. He was fair and above board. He was a great guy to work with. The other man booked the entertainment. John took over after his father chose to vacate that position. We often roomed near John and his wife, Kathy, at the state fair convention. One year we even prepared our own breakfasts in the room to be more efficient. We also camped near them at the fair. Neither of these men was on the board any more, but as I look around this season I will miss them.
I look forward to seeing the new facility that was built to replace Cornplanter Pavilion. That pavilion had been in place for most of the years that I attended the fair. It was the site of everything from dairy shows to horse pulls. It was also the scene of most of the musical entertainment. The pavilion, dedicated in 1976, fell victim to ice and snow this past winter. It collapsed just as many other structures in the county did due to the weight of the ice and snow. Life does not stand still. The debris was hardly cleared when new construction began. The directors made it a priority to have a new facility in place by the time of the fair.
Fairs must keep up to date in order to compete for the dollars of the patrons. As directors we all realized that people came to the fair for different reasons. Some came only for the musical entertainment. Some came to see the exhibits. Some came because the family participated. Some came for the carnival rides. Some came for the food. Some came for the motor sports events. Some came just to see what was new.
I love the fair. I hope you will check out the amazing facility that Warren County has. The Warren County Fair has an excellent reputation in the fair industry. It is clean. It is welcoming. It has more things to do than you can possibly get around to.
Be sure to attend the county fair this summer. Fairs are part of a rich heritage that celebrates the great place agriculture plays in the economy of a region and so much more.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org