Fairs are a wonderful part of our heritage

There’s no glitz, glamour or full scale high-tech wizardry used to awe which seems to be needed — or felt it is needed — in this day and age of providing entertainment. There are no fancy 21st century version whistles, horns or gimmicks involved.

No, the summer fairs in our area like the Mile Branch Fair which concludes today, the Columbiana County Fair which opens tomorrow and the upcoming Canfield Fair are examples of what is right with our area. Fairs provide plain old fashioned entertainment. And you don’t need a tankful of expensive gas to get to any of them.

Generations have gone to these fairs and generations to come will do likewise. And the refreshing part is very little changes about the fair themselves. The animal displays you see today are similar to those from decades ago. Same with much of the food, crafts, activities and even some of the kid games and rides.

Let’s face it too: it’s refreshing to know that our children don’t always — even though it does seem otherwise — have to have a laptop in front of them or a full satellite access remote control in their hands to be happy and entertained.

There’s something to be said for the smile on the face of a youngster from simply petting a calf at the fair. Or how about the look on the face of a 4H youngster proudly raising an animal for presentation at the fair? And earning a ribbon to boot. Or the smiles on face that only the taste of a fair sausage sandwich with all the delicious gunk and trimmings can leave? Or how about a slice of fresh apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it to go along with that slices of Americana that are our fairs? How about all the good will that come with fairs? It’s very cool to run into someone you hadn’t seen in years and have a nice chat.

This is all so timeless which makes a fair all so special. Sometimes no change is for the better. Our fairs become frozen Moments in time. Norman Rockwell would’ve loved to be standing at the fairgrounds with a brush in his hand. And most likely, a candy apple or such in his other hand. Fairs are stuff of old Saturday Evening Post covers. Fairs are part of our local culture and history. County fairs are homage to our agriculture-based heritage. It’s small towns and rural communities at their best.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a corn dog, quilt show or watching animal judging. Some may snicker and call it hokey or backwards. Let them go ahead. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with getting a kick out of going to the demolition derby. Or winning a stuffed animal by knocking over the bottles. Especially if you go to the fair with family or your sweetheart.

The fairs and all of those folks — many of whom are volunteers — supporting them deserve their own blue ribbons. So enjoy the animals, activities, rides, crafts, games, food and fellowship of our fairs. They are a big part of our area’s summertime. Just like they’ve always been and always will be.

And don’t forget to check out our special section Sunday highlighting the Columbiana County Fair.