This year marks the 175th time Madison County has put on a County Fair. In itself this is quite an accomplishment for a rural area that in recent years has seen itself in a new light. Before now a Fair was guaranteed to bring in local people who look forward to it and planed it into their yearly events. Not so today as events and fancy destinations seem to steal families with glitzy rides and amusements that once were taken for granted attendance to attend the Fair.
The little group that puts this event (not the county) on each year, struggles to find ways to attract people and to think of ways to entice “Fair-goers” to drive to the country to view animals and learn of the Fair’s agricultural “Hay-day”.
|Picture Kevin Orr|
The Fair has managed to sustain itself with courage and the conviction that small county fairs must not disappear… fairs that represent the fiber of Rural America.
From its early purpose of not only showing animals and rural products, but as a way for farmers to learn of new methods and see new products that included remedies for animal ailments…(the day of the traveling veterinarian…did not exist) fairs have evolved into an opportunity to look at rural America the way it is today.
The past’s farmwomen were able to share their home crafts and ideas as well as to win a prize. I remember a friend telling me that her grandmother went home from the fair …took a jar and filled it with beans then emptied it and counted them one by one so she could win a prize at the fair… which went to the closest guess of number of beans in a jar!
Children brought their favorite pet to enter into contest…something the 4-H clubs still do today! They got to ride rides and see shows and tour mid-ways...Wheelock Rides will be there this year!
All-in-all today’s Madison County Fair still represents family values with the “Youth Tent and rural values with agricultural and animal displays. The Tractor pulls and Demolition Derby still sends the crowd to the Grandstand.
The Fair is still a great way to take a deep breath and walk away from our busy world that just keeps spinning. Help keep it alive!
So go to the Fair! Drag grandma and the kids… Tell them I sent you!