It's time again for the annual county fair, an event that shows off the agricultural and animal husbandry skills of area youth, the craft skills of area residents, and offers a chance to enjoy the carnival.
It's an old-fashioned fair, straight out of a Normal Rockwell painting, and we urge everyone to give it a chance and go down to Glenns Ferry for a day.
We have some suggestions for the fair board for the future, however.
Largely to accommodate the carnival, the fair has been moved up over the years until it is now in the middle of July. Since part of the historic nature of county fairs includes showing off locally grown produce, at this time of year little of it is actually ready for harvest. Fairs originally were held after harvest, as a celebration of the hard work of farmers during the year. Holding the event in mid-July is simply too early.
Yet, without the carnival, few people would bother to show up. Even in a rural area such as Elmore County, only a small number of people are actually engaged in farming and ranching, so the number of people directly affected or interested in the agricultural aspects of the fair is constantly diminishing. The carnival and other entertainment is the real draw these days and the fair board needs to look at expanding those areas of the event.
It takes time to line up a quality carnival, sometimes as much as two years in advance. But we believe the fair board should look ahead and begin now trying to book a carnival for later in the year, closer to the actual time of harvest. The fair dates should start moving closer to the fall (at least late August), instead of closer and closer to spring. In fact, right now, it's less than a month after the official start of spring. To do that will take some advance planning, and it isn't as easy as it seems, but it would help restore the fair to what it used to be, a celebration of the harvest.
In the meantime, give the fair a chance, and when you go, make sure you applaud all the 4-H and Optimist kids who've worked so hard on their projects.