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Fairs will bring back some normalcy for us

There’s no glitz, glamour or full-scale high-tech wizardry used to awe which seems to be needed — or felt is needed — in this day and age of providing entertainment. No fancy 21st century version whistles, horns or gimmicks are involved. No, the summer fairs in our area like the 176th Columbiana County Fair, which officially opens Monday, and the upcoming Canfield Fair, which opens Sept. 1 for its 175st year, are two examples of what is right with our area.

Fairs provide plain old fashioned entertainment for the young, old and all in between. And you don’t need a tankful of expensive gas to get there. These fairs are what helps make our area what it is. They are so intrinsic for the waning summer calendars of so many local residents. The Canfield Fair and accompanying Labor Day weekend traditionally marks the end of summer for many of us. Although school and related activities like high school football are starting sooner and sooner these days.

Generations have gone to these fairs and generations to come will do likewise. And the refreshing part is very little changes about the fairs themselves. The animal displays you see today are similar to those from decades ago. Same with 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 newborn calf at the fair. Or perhaps taking a pony ride. 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 slice of Americana that is the Columbiana County and Canfield fairs?

This is all so timeless which makes a fair all so special. Sometimes no change is for the better. Our fairs like that going on soon in Lisbon and in Canfield are frozen moments in time. Norman Rockwell would’ve loved to be standing at the fairgrounds with a brush in his 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, behind them deserve their own blue ribbons. So enjoy the animals, activities, rides, crafts, games and food of our 2021 county fairs. They are a big part of our area’s summertime. Just like they’ve always been and always will be.

It is all especially meaningful this year given the constraints and hardships brought along by COVID. So, yes, please do “Wheel on Down!” next week and have “Something to Crow About! the first of next month. If anything can provide relief from the virus fatigue that has been hanging around, a simple visit to a county fair can provide a wonderful and fun distraction. The fairs will be part of the ongoing return to normalcy after all that we have been through. It is needed.

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