The county fair is running in Rush City right now.
The memories of the past 40 years and our family’s involvement in its activities are vivid.
Like the smell of the pork burgers sizzling and the sound of Therman Hanson’s voice barking out to passersby “Pork burgers, pork burgers!”
Like the smell of clean hay in the horse barn where we set up camp while the girls showed their animals in the 4-H horse show.
Like the mud balls flying as demo derby cars went squealing around trying to get a better position.
Like the fun in the 4-H food building, frying hamburgers with the school district superintendent, serving up customers and pretending for a few hours we were short-order cooks.
Like the blinking colored lights on the midway rides, and watching the kids as they enjoyed a ride on their favorite steed on the merry-go-round. Or a victory at the whiffle ball game.
Like the stroll through the activities building and being astounded at the skill and talent of my neighbors.
Or purchasing penny candy at the historical society booth, a refreshing treat at the 4-H malt stand, or a toasted cob of corn dripping with yellow gold.
Or the practice and tears associated with attempts to take home a first-place trophy at the talent contest.
It used to be that the county fair was the highlight of our summer.
The girls worked very hard on their 4-H projects and were proud as peacocks to bring home a pile of blue and sometimes grand champion ribbons.
We played and worked hard all day at the fair, spent longs hours at the Friday horse show and enjoyed the demolition derby and county fair parade all before dark descended, the air cooled to chilly, and it was time to go home.
The memories are, for the most part, all good. Very good.
Here’s the Thing… I went out to the fairgrounds Monday for that preview look and to see how things were coming along, hoping to get a couple of sneak-preview photos for the paper this week and parking passes for my reporters who will be out covering the many events. While there was some activity going on, it appeared as if there were several weeks to go before the fair opened.
The excitement was missing, and the grounds were not clean and ready. In fact, all I got from those on the grounds were some unemotional stares.
It was a big disappointment. I hope a miracle is worked in two days so that today’s families can enjoy the many facets of a county fair that made it so memorable for me and my family.