Lots of things! That may seem simple, but I never really thought about how much fun going to these fairs really was until last weekend when I went to the DuPage County Fair in Wheaton.
So what makes county and state fairs so much fun? More than the food, games and rides, it’s all about the exhibits…
I watched the blacksmith use hot coals to heat up metal to put on an anvil and then pound the glowing molten round into shape with a hammer – while he trained a journeyman in the art, keeping the tradition alive.
These engines could run for days on a single gallon of gas and were capable of powering tools used on a farm such as: wood choppers, corn huskers and corn millers – some of which dated back to the early 1900′s and are still reliable today.
Being able to witness wood carving, cow milking, and art and crafts being made live was also very interesting – but seeing the spinning of wool into yarn from a freshly sheared sheep was enlightening to say the least.
It was also more than fun watching the Blue Ribbons being awarded.
I was amazed at the time and care the contestants took with their entries and at the immense look of pride in their eyes. (Google “blue ribbon contests” and you’ll be surprised at the amount of listings that come back!) The amount of award categories was equally amazing: Apple Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Watermelon, State Flower, Dairy Cow, Pig, Sheep and Show Horse, to name a few.
What struck me more than anything walking through the fair on that beautiful day was the overwhelming feeling of Americana all around me. I was knee deep in old fashioned values and historic traditions still in use smack dab in the age of iPads and X-Box…and it felt so good!
That’s what’s so fun about county fairs.
There’s still time to take in a fair before the summer is over:
The Wisconsin State Fair is running now till the 12th: http://wistatefair.com/2012/index.html
The Illinois State Fair starts this week on August 9th through the 19th: http://www.agr.state.il.us/isf/
Additional County Fairs in Illinois: http://www.agr.state.il.us/fair/countyfairssched.php
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