Nine hours at the fair brings back a lot of memories

Sep. 15, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

I love a fair.

Some of my fondest memories of childhood are about going to the fair.

Since my daddy attended Ellenboro School as a kid it was important to him that we have the same appreciation for a fair as he did growing up as a farmer's boy. 

He was in 4-H and had an appreciation for the farm animals exhibited at the fair. He  loved every minute of the Colfax Free Fair established in Ellenboro so farmers would have a place to show off their beef cattle, pigs, goats and produce from the long summer's harvest.

We always spent a lot of time in the exhibit hall as he pointed out all the good looking — and odd looking — vegetables, fruits and the likes of such things. 

Of course as kids were itching to get onto the fairground to walk around, ride maybe one ride and have some cotton candy.

Best of all, the Ellenboro Fair was free and itstill is.  The fair opens Tuesday, Sept. 17  at 6 p.m. and runs through Saturday, Sept. 21. Don't miss one of the finest fairs around that supports the Ellenboro Elementary School. It's located at the old school property off Hollis Road.

Our parents also took my sisters and I to the Rutherford County Fair, back in the day. There was an admission fee so it was a real treat to go.

I was an 8-year-old in the fall of 1960 when we visited the fair.

 Once again the exhibit hall was the first place to visit. I loved the crazy mirrors that made even the shortest person become a giant with the turn of a magic mirror. 

We visited every booth, saw every vegetable and every canned good. 

My favorite of all that year was the booth supporting John F. Kennedy for president. As a third grader I was in awe of him. So that night, I was given a JFK campaign hat that brought tears to my eyes.

While riding the squirrel cages with my mama and sister, the hat blew out of the ride that turned us every which way but loose. It was gone forever and I cried.

I remember the smell of the sawdust that was placed on the old fairgrounds to cut down on the dust. But there was nothing like dropping cotton candy in sawdust and trying to retrieve it before your shoes were a total mess.

I thought about those days last Saturday when a friend and I and four of her grandchildren went to the Mountain State Fair in Fletcher.

This fair is awesome. If you've never been, you have missed out on a great event.

From the beef and cattle shows, rabbit and pig races, baby chickens and goats, Braham bulls, horses,  even sea lions and every fair food imaginable, it's a dream come true for fair lovers. 

Besides all the shows and animals, the midway is unbelievable. With its multi-colored rides that take people far away into the sky to the rides that stay on the ground, squeals, laughter and delight from adults and kids are heard throughout the fair.

As my friend and I were making plans, I assured her I wanted to go, but didn't want to stay all day. She remembers me saying that but has no recollection of agreeing.

I probably walked four or five miles last Saturday from one end of the fair to the other. We even took the chair lift at least four times to cross the fairgrounds.

We rode rides, visited the exhibit hall; waited in line about an hour for the sea lion show. We saw all the animals, bypassed the horticulture exhibits, bought snacks and passed by the folks who were using their microphones to coerce others into playing games. 

We even visited the "Mooternity Ward" where new calves were ready to be born just anytime. We didn't see any. But on Tuesday, twin calves were born which happens only 1 out of 7 births. Wished I'd been there. Several of our high school students worked in the ward yesterday.

After one last lap of the fair, buying souvenirs, and deciding on "the last ride for the day" I suggested that we go home.

Meandering our way out of the fair, which was a record attendance day,  I kindly told my friend, it had been nine hours since we arrived, and I had not planned to stay all day.

That's my last fair visit, I whispered to myself, as I picked my feet up and put them in the car.

But what about the Ellenboro Fair and the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh next month?  What about the Cleveland County Fair later this month?

What's a girl to do?