As a kid growing up in Janesville there were three milestone events each summer that kept track of how much longer it was until school started. The first was the 4th of July, the last was Labor Day. The one sandwiched in the middle was the oldest 4H Fair in the country. Our very own Rock County 4H Fair. What a great fair.
I finally had the opportunity to step onto the grounds yesterday after a whirlwind week in the life of the fair. The hustle and bustle of Tuesday set the stage for what appears to be a record-breaking year. Aside from a bit of rain on Friday I don't think the fair board or participants will complain about the weather the good Lord blessed over the plot of land that sits squarely in the middle of 60,000 city-folk. What a great fair.
Yesterday had the feel of a early fall afternoon but that was OK with me as we made our way through the exhibits and the animal barns. After 6 days in the city most of the animals were still in 'fair form' and those in the tents didn't have the normal 'burned out' look. The ice cream cone from the dairy trailer didn't melt right away and the cheese curds cooled just enough not to sting the roof of my mouth. What a great fair.
30-plus years ago city slicking kids from the east side didn't need a ride from Mom or Dad to go far to see the country. Our parents let us jump on our bikes and visit the country…only a few miles away. We'd chain our bikes to the fence and learn the ropes of the teenage social hierarchy on the midway. I didn't see a ton of bikes chained to the fence yesterday but the same social hierarchy was in full effect on the midway. Hundreds of teens were enjoying themselves while hundreds of parents were enjoying a bit of a break. What a great fair.
Our fair isn't the biggest, it doesn't have all the amenities that those 'fancy' fairs in the country. Each year there's a bit of grumbling about the entertainment and the fact that the place is just 'too small'. The grounds are smaller than many fairgrounds, but it feels so much bigger during fair week. I'm not a country…or western fan…but I don't think those looking for entertainment were disappointed. What a great fair.
It's over…one more milestone on the way to the start of school. I'll have the chance to drive past the fair grounds this evening and I know the first thing that will come to mind is the last full week in July - 2014. What a great fair.
What's your favorite memory of our fair?