Everyone's a winner at a county fair
July 27, 2010 in: Reflections on the River
Among my proudest accomplishments rank a two-year reign as a Nodaway County Fair Champion. From 1981-82, I was the winner of the freckle contest. For clarification, I do believe the fair was known as the Nodaway County Expo in those
Hanging out at the fair last weekend, it was easy to forget that the event has not always been around. Now, it’s hard to imagine July evenings without a carnival and concerts on the courthouse square. Congratulations to the fair board and all those involved for making it a great success.
If you took all the best things about farms, small towns, America, human nature, God’s creation, fried foods, fresh air, being young and being old, mixed them all up together and poured them out, I’m pretty sure the result would be a county fair. The summer festivals are a celebration of excellence, the best of livestock, fresh cut flowers, vegetables, cake decorating, knitting, jams and jellies, woodworking and photography.
Any time you can slide on a burlap sack and listen to a group called Cori Jo and the Outlaw Junkies, you can guarantee a good time will be had by all. Factor in the perfectly reasonable price of free, and it gets even better. Add the cotton candy and it just went over the top.
This year’s fair parade may have been the greatest celebration of democracy ever held outside of Independence Hall. Every two minutes, a political candidate came jogging by, shaking hands and asking for votes. All politics is local, as they say, and if the Nodaway County Fair Parade is the barometer, Americans are eager to bring about some change in this country.
Besides the politicians, the parade consisted of classic cars, marching bands, pageant queens, restored tractors, saddle horses, fire engines, farm equipment, dance troupes, sports teams and semi trucks. You can’t get that in any Disney parade. Parade entrants were so generous this year, I came home with all kinds of office supplies and other goodies. By the end of the parade, even kids were getting full of candy.
It’s interesting that as the number of farms and farmers decreases, county fairs grow more popular. Perhaps the changing times make it even more important that communities gather together to just being us and make no excuses about it. Fairs are keeping up with the times, too. I noticed where one small town festival in Nodaway County will have a texting contest.
There are those who will poke fun of county fairs, especially the food on a stick. These are obviously people who have never been to a fair because one turn on the tilt-a-whirl, they’d be having too much fun to do anything besides grab a corn dog and swing by the 4-H displays to admire the quilts and birdfeeders.
County fairs are so much fun, I’m going to take in another one this summer. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Chris Filer, a farmer from Harrisonville, Mo., who is just now breaking into the music scene. His latest single is called “John Deere, John 3:16.” That sounds like a good life philosophy.
Chris will be playing at the Jefferson City Fair with Easton Corbin. Imagine a county fair on a town square, corn dog smell in the air and lots of cowboy hats. Easton’s a little more country than that. Preceding the concert is a minivan figure eight race, with all total destruction of all minivans at the end of the race. Again, a caliber of entertainment that you will not find at a Disney park, for just a fraction of the price.
When it comes to homegrown fun, a county fiar is not just a bargain, it’s priceless.