Perusing my way around the library, I found a free booklet of information that offered an intriguing title: The Best Five Days of Summer.
Ha! With August upon us and moving like a freight train toward summer’s conclusion, who could pass this up, considering it might be time to play catch-up with fun and frivolity (should you be behind). Sixty days of summer have already passed us by, and if we’re going to squeeze some fun in we’d better getting motoring. Soon, we’ll be sulking by the window, looking out at grey skies and watching snowflakes the size of dinner plates spinning toward earth.
But, I digress.
The Best Five Days of Summer is an important little 64-page book, which is more secondarily titled, Price County Fair Premium Book. Now, let’s get this straight at the get-go. The Price County Fair will be held from August 21 to 25. The deadline for entry forms is always the third Monday in July. Too late. But that doesn’t mean you can’t study what kinds of entries are encouraged and be ready to go to the fair next year, and it doesn’t mean you can’t just go for the fun of it! In fact, that’s the point.
I truly admire the Price County Fairgrounds themselves. Those old white clapboard fair barns are styled with flourishes of classic Americana. During the fair, the property comes to life and the grounds fill with hopeful entrants and those looking for a great community event that seems to step back in time.
The fair judging starts on Wednesday, and entrants must meet with the judge face to face.
There is no shortage of titles to pique the interest of those of who live on a farm and those who dream of living on a farm. The fair, in keeping with today’s young people, have categories for computers and electricity, mechanical projects, and even political sciences.
Things get a bit chaotic when the animals arrive, starting with poultry (and chickens as you might know are making a big comeback) and rabbits, goats of all kinds, swine, sheep and the big beefers. There’s a category called “Little Shepherds Lambs” and of course a horse show.
There is a rule that all animals must remain on the grounds unit 4 p.m. the last day of the fair, and that is so all the rest of us who are just poking around to get a good look at the efforts of our young people can take a look right up to the end of the fair. That rule explains why kids are always shown sleeping in the stalls with their cattle, or sprawled across their horse’s backs. It’s a contest in responsibility and learning to persevere.
I was in 4-H as a kid, but I was a “farm-less” entry. That means we didn’t have room for a calf or certainly not a horse (although I would have loved one). So I entered drawing and sewing. I used to sit and sketch for hours on end, but when it came to entering my work, I sort of freaked out and my sketches did not fare well. In fact, they were stacked with a bunch of others, and in the summer heat had turned smudgy and beat up around the edges. Neither artistic nor a sharp presentation.
I sewed (or tried to construct, would be more accurate) a gathered skirt. This was always the project for first-year fair entrants in the sewing category. It was not an attractive garment, what with the waist puckering and the hem hanging unevenly. I think I got a 3rd or 4th place ribbon, which is the equivalent of the not-so-prestigious “participants award.”
The real kicker was that we had to “model” our garments for the judges. I use the word “model” in the lightest of all applications. I was not on the road to being a model, fashion designer or even a seamstress, but we all move forward somehow.
So my message this week is to get out there and enjoy the best five days of summer at the fairgrounds. Have yourself a corn dog (even if it was at a fair in Iowa last week), and if they sell cheese curds, do not pass them up. Some fairs also celebrate with heavenly creme puffs.
It is an experience in rural America and really - can you miss the best five days of summer without regret? Nah. Just get up, and get to it.