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Come On Out to the Fair!

            You have only three more days, well four, counting today, to take in the very best county fair in Tennessee.  The Putnam County Agricultural and Industrial Fair was awarded the Champion of Champions trophy by the Tennessee Association of Fairs on January 20, 2022, and board members have worked diligently to make this year’s fair even better. 

Our fair isn’t a Johnny-come-lately event.  Chickens & Cows & Pigs, Oh My!, the theme of this year’s fair, is the 96th Putnam County Fair.  All these years, it’s been presented, ‘put on’ as my granny would say, by volunteers – 539 volunteers this year, according to John Allen, Fair Board President. 

            When I heard that ‘exhibit fair watchers’ were needed, I signed up.  As I write this column, I’m sitting under the South grandstand where the produce and crops and photographs are displayed and I’m taken back to being a kid.  I’ve pulled suckers from knee-high corn plants and driven a tractor that pulled a wagon in a hayfield and dug potatoes and picked enough green beans to fill quart jar for Mom to can.

             My job tonight is to remind people not to touch the items that have been entered for competition.  A little tyke ducked under the single-chain barrier and rubbed both hands over a long-shaped watermelon, but before I even stood, his mother had corralled him.  Maybe it was the big blue “Best of Show” ribbon on the watermelon that was enticing.

            I’m impressed by the baskets of vegetables that are works of art entered as Garden Displays.  Professional and amateur photographers entered pictures in many categories and I applauded with a child’s family when he announced, “I got a blue ribbon!”   He’ll also be happy when he picks up his first-place prize money on Sunday.

            My watcher seat looks out to the Master Gardeners’ exhibit, a unique and beautiful presentation of plants, both flowering and non-flowering. And I’m close to the food booths and cotton candy and the midway where the Ferris wheel stops only long enough to unload and load.

If I’d been assigned to the Cultural Arts Building, I’d be surrounded by flower arrangements, potted plants, hand and machine-stitched clothing, needlework, quilts of all sizes, knitted items, paintings, and crafts made of wood and leather.  And food: canned fruit, jelly, pickles, cakes, cookies, candy, and pies.  (Granted, all probably looked more appetizing on entry day.)

Maybe you think the fair isn’t something you’d like – think again.  It’s the best $5 you’ll spend to appreciate life here in Putnam County, according to the man I met tonight who moved here from San Diego, California, six months ago. 

The fair gates open at 4:00.  Take in the exhibits, eat supper at a food booth, and shop at the country store.  For an additional cost, you can ride the Ferris wheel. Go on the night of your favorite event: a horse show, tractor pull, or demolition derby.  The fair comes only once a year!

Get more information at https://putnamcountyfair.org

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