There’s nothing that revives a sense of being a part of a neighborhood like a county fair. And while the fair food is a delicacy you looked forward to for months in advance, after only two or three days, your system seeks relief in any kind of elixir that looks pink and tastes minty.
Highland County, Ohio has placed another fair into the history books, and it certainly enjoyed the best weather in my memory of Highland County fairs. The weather was hot a few days, but I recall by-gone days when local towing companies had their hands full and every farm tractor on the grounds spent much of their time relieving automobiles from the miry clay. Not 2019 though. Thank the good Lord above for that.
It had been several years since I had covered a county fair for radio, and even then, I never spent the amount of time that I did this year. By Saturday, I had to be led around by anyone going in my general direction.
I had almost forgotten the joy of interviewing the kids who were showing their livestock projects or participating in some competition, even like the pedal tractor pull. One of my best memories was a 7-year-old boy from the Sardinia area who I chatted with after he had won a hard-fought pedal tractor pull. He had become the grand champion, and when I asked him how he did it he exclaimed so matter-of-factly, “I won!” I told him I understood that, but wondered how he did it. The young man stated as if I had not understood his answer before, “I won it!” he said again.
“Oh!” I said, as if I hadn’t understood his previous response. He won. Enough said. He was so cute.
I spent time in the cattle barn, the swine barn, the sheep barn, the rabbit and poultry barn, and the horse barn. I stretched my neck watching the helicopter going over, I heard stories from a man who is convinced that Elvis is still alive, memories from fairs from the days of old, I watched parts of tractor pulls, I judged photographs and works of art, I judged one night of a talent contest, and emceed the final night of the contest.
Among the laundry list of good fortune experiences I enjoyed was riding with just about every golf cart driver on the fairgrounds, chased by a few more, was confided in, lied to, then I got to lie to them, and did I mention I ate? A lot.
I interviewed veterans, leaders of and those employed by non-profits, for-profits, Congressman Brad Wenstrup, entertainers, former “Hee-Haw” guest and all around good guy Dayne Puckett, my longtime side-kick Willard Parr, and my wife swears I was trying to interview my nightmares.
I remember county fairs. I have loved county fairs from the time of childhood. I thought I was finished with county fairs for good until I covered the Highland County Fair for Herb Day Radio this year. I now know, I will never be finished with county fairs in this life. And I am not certain that there is not a county fair that will need to be reported on in the life to come. If there is, I am certain that Will Parr and I will be covering it.
Make no mistake about it. The county fair is for and all about kids. However, as I observed parents and grandparents at the fair last week, that gleam in their eyes told all that needed to be told about the child in them. They marveled at the lights, the sights, the sounds and the smells. Yes, even the smells emanating from the swine barn. We enjoyed seeing that excitement in the eyes of five of our 11 grandchildren who were able to attend.
Last week was a wonderful reminder that no matter how old we get, inside we will always be like my 7-year-old pedal tractor pulling buddy who declared “I WON” when we enter a county fair.
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. You can email him at [email protected] and follow his work at http://www.HerbDayVoices.com and http://www.HerbDayRadio.com.