County fair needs new ideas

Posted Wednesday, July 24, 2013, at 8:22 AM
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    I spent a lot of time at the fairgrounds in the two weeks before the first fair back in the 60s. And while I was working for the US Dept. of Agriculture, there was an army of volunteers that showed up every day to turn the place into the fairgrounds.

    From little kids to respected business leaders to sun wrinkled farmers, I can tell you that those volunteers put tons of love into the work they accomplished.

    I suspect those youngsters sporting exhibitor ribbons at this year's fair, whether they won anything else or not, would hardly share your assessment of the event.

    County fair's such as this offer ties to both the past and the future. Steeped in tradition and simple values, change should come carefully and perhaps slowly.

    Just my two cents for the day.

    -- Posted by wh67 on Wed, Jul 24, 2013, at 9:45 AM
  • I think your suggestion of reducing the time frame to 3 to 4 days instead of over a week would help and having no limitation on booths.

    It could be that there isn't enough customer traffic to get a good carnival company there. Maybe Mountain Home created entertainment might be the answer: ducking booths, horseback rides, etc.

    -- Posted by Sam_1776 on Wed, Jul 24, 2013, at 10:30 AM
  • My Dad was one of the individuals who served on the fair board for many years. He and John Parke did quite a bit of the grounds work and set some great programs into place.

    I know first-hand just how hard it is to run a fair is because we lived it growing up. We didn't have fancy carnivals, but there were dozens of volunteers who took the time to share their talents with the community.

    It has been many years since I attended a county fair, but I can tell you that volunteers work just as hard and the kids are just as dedicated.

    Maybe, if the paper built the fair up a little more before the actual event and shared some great pictures during the event, people would take a bigger interest.

    Many Many stories can be told about the past fairs. My dad saved someone's life when a kid was kicked directly in the chest by a colt.

    The Bingo Booth and the Grange Booth are probably no more, but the food was wonderful and wholesome. The Bingo Booth kept the older generation out of trouble. And the Railroad Booth supplied fast and juicy hamburgers.

    I believe that this year was pretty hot for several weeks, thus the limited display of produce.

    So what if the fair is not in the county seat, GF has hosted it for several decades quite successfully. They also have contributed a great deal of sweat labor to keep things current.

    More pictures and a better build-up prior to the fair.

    -- Posted by KH Gal on Wed, Jul 24, 2013, at 10:33 AM
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    I inadvertently left out that there was a second side to the creation of that first fair, specifically, the financial donations from businesses throughout the county. Banks, stores, cafes, lumber yards and others provided sponsorships to provide the needed materials.

    I don't recall any controversy of any real significance.

    It would seem like a relatively easy task for the MHNews to add a section to their website for pictures and stories amping up to and shortly after the event.

    -- Posted by wh67 on Wed, Jul 24, 2013, at 12:41 PM
  • I grew up at the Fair. Almost Literally. From the time I was 3 years old being led around on my pony by my parents. To the time I was 18,and my mom probably didn't know where I was most times. ;)

    I have a ton of great memories there. And I can say, the carnival rides are not the top of those memories. And neither is the food. It was the time spent working hard in the heat, and then playing hard at the end of the day. Sometimes it was a lot of tears and life lessons.

    It's always great to try to improve things.

    But it really is about the kids.

    -- Posted by ktlm on Fri, Jul 26, 2013, at 10:59 AM
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    I've been pondering this blog for a couple days now. I'm dang proud that KTLM came and made the comment tht she did. Yes, she grew up ...almost literally at the Fair. Her experiences there taught her so many Life Lessons, ...way too many to list/name. She is a stronger woman, in part, due to the Work and Struggles that she had at the Fair. The losses she took, and then eventually, the huge Gains. oh my gosh, yes, there were long hot days working and preparing, and then yes, playing harder at the end of the days. Water fights, and BBQ's, (usually her GrandDad at the Grill) ...then yes, times I didn't really know where she was, (or her brothers) but I KNEW their values, and that they'd be back to camp with me. It WAS always about the kids, and still is for many of us. We so looked forward to the Competitions and the Whole of it all. And I hope/wish that it will always be at least in part, that same way. She's right, it wasn't about the Carnival Rides for her, or the food she could buy. We took our own food, and generally didn't have time or money for the Carnival, but that didn't take away from the experiences my children gained.

    I have thought about the Fair alot this week, And I have to say that I think for the "Average" person out there, the Carnival IS the big pull. Most don't go to show their animals or projects, so the Carnival is what pulls the parents to take their kids to the Fair. "Mommy, can we ride the rides???? HUH??? Can we???" Many years, we've had excellent Carnival rides, but not for awhile, and I think we simply MUST. It's just a fact that that is what folks expect. I know, I know, "we can't afford it...." But I think we might just HAVE to "take a hit" and have a Carnival for a few years and get folks 'talking' about it. Right now, the talk is that we don't have one, and that 'sucks'

    I have another issue, and I'm not even sure who to question about it. Last weekend, during the Elmore County Fair,

    TARWATER played in Mountain Home at the Optimist Park. Who's right hand didn't talk to the left hand in these events? I'd have LOVED to see/hear Tar Water, but couldn't, cuz of the Fair. Why....OH Why, couldn't Tar Water be playing AT the County Fair? In my eyes, the folks that could've been drawn to BOTH might have been ..well, out of this world. Tar Water, I"m telling you! If you've been around the area as long as I have, you know who I'm talking about. Sheesh, Wouldn't THAT have been an awesome coordination?

    Maybe there is some good reason for it, I don't know, but I have to say, It feels like a "duh" moment, least have them on separate weekends, to not detract from one another, but joining them together could have been spectacular. A missed opportunity for sure.

    If I've offended someone, sorry, or maybe, better luck next time.


    -- Posted by jessiemiller on Fri, Jul 26, 2013, at 8:24 PM
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