I have some very sentimental memories of the county fair; these memories are mostly from growing up on a farm. The county fair was where we got to spend time off the farm and even show our cattle, crops or projects. It was also a little bittersweet sometimes.
Our family showed dairy cattle at the fair. I think my career in cattle showing was inverted as my cow, Daisy, received a grand champion when I was at the start of my career and too young to go to the state fair. The thing about cattle then as I have found in cattle today is that they are the star-you just try to create a situation to showcase their best assets. When I keep cattle on pasture, I just try to make sure they have water, good food and shade then let them do the rest. At the fair, I made sure the cow was socialized, clean and had good conformation then just made sure I showed off these assets to the judge and tried to be invisible.
I was 11 when Daisy won that Grand Champion ribbon. She could have taken me to the State Fair but I was too young to go. The fair board looked at the situation and offered to let me go but I really didn’t want to go that far away and I couldn’t see putting Daisy through the hassle of transport and stress of being away from home so I took a pass. Honestly, I couldn’t see putting me through the stress, either.
The was a lot of cool stuff at the fair. I loved climbing on the machinery even if I wasn’t supposed too. I was never interested in the combines or large tillage equipment as I was in the skid steers and manure spreaders. I guess not much has changed.
Jerry Dahlberg from KROX radio interviewed me at the Marshall County fair when I was young. He had a simple cassette recorder but I thought it was really big stuff. I have always been involved in a love affair with broadcast radio and an interview with Dahlberg was pretty awesome.
I think animals will always be the king exhibit of the fair however other exhibits have always offered a lot too. The fair has been a reflection of the community and it makes sense that the exhibits should change with the times. I like new exhibits and new entertainment, but I still need a trip through the cattle barn or I can’t truly say I’ve been to the fair.
I said there was some bittersweet, didn’t I? The last night of the fair is always kind of sad. The exhibits are packed up, horses owners get to see how well their animals trailer and the midway begins to erode as the rides are prepared to travel to the next location. I’ve always thought the fair is the true last act of the summer. Practice for fall sports will begin soon and then it will be fall and then one morning we will wake up to snow. Go see the fair before that happens; go see the fair.