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Come to the FAIR

search-1My calendar is marked with big red letters. F A I R! An arrow connects the dates. Thursday, July 30th- Saturday, August 8th. Sometime, and hopefully more than once, during those ten days I’ll get my Fair fix at the Putnam County Fair. A fix of memories, food, exhibits, seeing friends, and new experiences.

I always try to entice someone to go with me. “The exhibit building is air-conditioned. There are lots of mouth-watering cakes and candy and jars of pickles and beans. And all kinds of needlework. We’ll walk thru quickly, see everything, and then eat supper at one of the concession stands and then to the Country Store to buy homemade candy.” I don’t say that I also want to see the farm crops. From the largest watermelon to the best sheaf of yellow corn. And I can’t miss the photographs: Historic Tennessee to Tells a Story, even a Selfie. And I’ll check out the Lego models in the Hobby fair.

Then on to the concession stands. Time was that the choices were limited. Hamburgers, hotdogs, French fries, potato chips. Or a bowl of pinto beans with a hunk of cornbread. Now, there’s pizza, barbeque, chicken sandwiches – anything you want.   Somehow, a Fair cheeseburger is better than any other, even one I hand press from expensive beef and Husband cooks on the grill. And every time I sit on a hard concrete concession stand bench, I see someone who I haven’t seen in ages. Someone, who I knew well in the past. Who will I see and catch up with while eating a Fair cheeseburger?

On to the Midway. Bright, blinking lights. The ferris wheel. The shooting range. The carousel. The smell that’s the same since I first smelled it in 1967. The huge metal slide. The slide, that my then five-year-old Grand rode down three years ago when I thought she’d get to the top of the steps, freeze, and cry. She waved to me, spread out a ragged burlap feedbag, sat down, pushed herself off, and grinned all the way to the bottom. She was my only Fair companion that Thursday afternoon and cotton candy never taste so good. We sat in the shade of the grandstand, watched tractors smooth the dirt in the arena for that night’s horse show, and we savored every morsel of the purple and pink spun sugar. That was supper.

And on my very first trip to the Fair, Husband and I, college sweethearts, rode the Tilt-A-Whirl. The weather was cool and the Tilt-A-Whirl jerked fast. I leaned under his arm when we were slammed against the side of the metal bucket, and he wrapped both his arms tightly around me.

For me, a Fair experience must include the barns to see the prize cows and pigs and chickens. The Master Gardeners displays. The commercial exhibits. And finally, to the Country Store for homemade fudge.

And then I always notice what’s happening in the arena. A Monster Truck Show. And I hear music from the Music Barn. So many choices and the Fair comes only once a year.

For more information visit the website, www.putnamcountyfair.org, or pick up a Fair book at a local bank, the Putnam Farmers’ Co-op, or the County Extension Office.

The Fair motto is “Come make a fair memory.”  Making memories at the Fair – it happens every summer.


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