Janesville29.2°

Exhibitor attends 46th consecutive Walworth County Fair

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
September 3, 2009
— The Walworth County Fair is all about family for Mary Lou Meyer.

Running strong at 46 consecutive fairs, 79-year-old Meyer of Meyervilla Farm in Darien is one of the oldest exhibitors at the 160th annual event.


“It feels wonderful to have all the family here,” Mary said Wednesday from her barn at the fairgrounds. “We’ll have lots of little get-togethers here and there, but when it comes to the fair, everybody gets together.”


Meyer’s has about 15 family helpers—from her adult sons and their wives to her 1-year-old great-granddaughter.


“She’s going to be 2 next month, and this is her second fair,” she said with a proud smile.


The Meyer family has been at the fair since the early 1960s, when they purchased their first few cows. They spent years in 4-H until they got a spot in open class. Since then, no fair has passed without a Meyer to represent their legacy.


“Chris only missed the fair one year—32 years ago—when her son Brian was born,” Meyer said. “She came to the fair and had to leave to the hospital.”


On Wednesday, Meyer was relaxing at the shaded barn with her 10 Holstein cows. It takes a lot of work and a few family members to get three truckloads of materials and equipment from the property at Darien, Meyer said. But her family always chips in.


“We do all we can do,” said 41-year-old Jim Meyer, Mary Lou’s youngest son. “Everybody’s got to take their turns doing something.


“It’s a long fair, and it doesn’t start when you get to the fair.”


Mary Lou said the family has cleaned each animal with pressure washers for the last four days. Now that it’s all done, she’s relaxing and waiting for her grandson Tyler, a freshman at the UW-Platteville, to show their animals at 4-H competitions Friday.


Saturday will feature the whole Meyer family in open class.


“There is an awful lot put into this fair before we even get to the fair,” Mary Lou said. “And so it’s going to be a lot of work taking it down, too.”


But the animals have practice traveling and living away from home.


“Several of these animals have already been through four shows this summer: The state fair, the Boone County (Ill.) Fair, the district show and the national show,” she said.


“This is a tradition we hope we’ll continue as long as our prefix Meyervilla exist,” Mary Lou said.


“There is a nice crowd, and … I’ve run into about 20 of my friends here already, and I haven’t been too far. That’s what I really enjoy, seeing everybody coming back for another year.”



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