A recent source of joy for me is being able to witness the important first experiences in the life of my 11-month-old son, Parker.
This year’s Logan County Fair provided one such first.
The look on Parker’s face as he petted a goat, tasted a tiny bit of fried Twinkie and took in the general atmosphere at the fair was priceless.
My son’s first fair outing was somewhat more auspicious than my own. As mother tells it, my first fair visit some 34 years ago lasted only a few minutes.
I was allergic to just about everything back then, including the farm critters on the premises. During that brief visit, my eyes swelled shut and my airway constricted to the point I could barely breathe. I was rushed out of the fair gates, not to return until I was several years older.
Mom later said my face at the time resembled that of Sly Stallone’s iconic boxing character “Rocky” after a fight sequence.
Thankfully, Parker does not seem to share the allergies that once afflicted his dear old dad.
The most problematic event of the day for him was choosing between toys to take home. The winner — a large, inflatable plastic hammer to harass his older siblings.
Viewing an event through your child’s eyes, I’ve learned, can make something you’ve done dozens of times new and fun.
Another important aspect of the fair is that it remains one of only a handful of traditions left in our community that bring different generations and people from different walks of life together.
It is all the more disheartening to listen to people disparage the event or those who work so hard each year to make it a reality.
Among the more common snipes heard around gates and ticket windows is “it’s too expensive,” or “there’s nothing to do here anymore.”
True, the fair is more expensive these days, but so is just about every other product or service we use each day. And like most products and services, the fair has changed to survive in today’s tough economic climate.
The fair, which began in 1849, could be considered as one of the oldest active businesses in Logan County.
More remarkable to me is that the event is put together each year by a board comprised of more than two dozen men and women who selflessly donate countless hours and plenty of sweat equity to the cause. With a board of this size, there are bound to be some disagreements behind closed doors, but come fair week things always seem to run pretty smoothly.
If you chose not to attend the fair this year, please consider doing so next year to support this venerable institution.
Without your continued support, Parker and the rest of today’s kids may never have the opportunity to attend their babies’ first fair.
T.J. Hubbard is the Assistant General Manager of the Bellefontaine Examiner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.