I’ve been around fairs in some shape or manner ever since I can remember. Many of my childhood memories and now adult memories stem from county or state fairs.
There is something special about the fair that I can’t even explain. While fairs are woven into the fabric of our communities, they are also etched in the memory banks of people, even some whose memory is failing them.
My 82-year-old uncle has been battling dementia for the past couple years. And while his short term memory is pretty much gone, he still remembers back to his childhood of being around the county fair. While we attended the Carver County Fair last week, it was fun to see him recount earlier memories of fairs gone by.
This same uncle used to take me on every fair ride imaginable, even some that looped around where you wondered if you’d ever come back down. We laughed together last week as neither one of us have the stomach or desire any longer to do such thrill seeking adventures. My head spins just thinking about it.
And then there are the not so pleasant memories.
Take one of my first 4-H experiences as an example. I was just a tad past the 8-year-old mark when I baked some cupcakes for a 4-H food project. I was proud of my cupcakes, but it was quickly stifled with pure terror. While getting the plate ready with the car door open and trying to balance them on my lap, I lost control and tipped the cupcakes onto the pavement.
With dread quickly setting in, mom came to the rescue to calm me down and somehow patch up the cupcakes enough to show them. (I was so traumatized I don’t even remember what ribbon I got.) Let’s just say a few tears dripped on the cupcakes to give them an extra flavoring.
Not to be outdone by the cupcake fiasco, I had another dreadful experience with one of my pigs during the hog show one year. I always religiously worked with my hogs prior to the county fair to get them ready for show. But one of my pigs decided to have a mind of his own.
While parading the pig around the show floor, he made my life miserable by flipping out on me. He ignored everything I tried to do with him. And at one point he bolted for the bleachers, shoved his snout under the seats and sent the spectators scrambling for cover.
Much to my dismay, I had lost complete control of the pig, and I was in tears. The pig didn’t seem to mind as he was prancing around underneath the bleachers.
All in a day’s fun, or something like that, at the fair.
Luckily, there are also many happy memories of winning grand champions and earning trips to the state fair with my 4-H projects.
Much like what happens in Steele County for many families during fair week, the world revolved around the fair for me growing up and still does to some extent today. Nothing more, nothing less. For me, the fair was and always will be a happy time. It has always produced mostly positive memories for our entire family, though I don’t miss the days leading up to the fair trying to get everything ready for show.
Join me in going in hot pursuit of establishing some great fair memories this week.