My column on our community clearly wouldn’t be complete without a write-up on our county fair. Every year we see someone waiting anxiously to show their animals, win all the prizes, and ride the Ferris wheel. We also see others who HATE the fair and run the other direction when “fair week” starts. I’ll be honest. I’m a mix of both. For years growing up my Mom and Dad had booths at the fair and most of the fairs in Ohio. We would spend summers making friends with the game attendants and winning way too many basketballs and goldfish. Dad still has booths out there and I’m sure you’ve walked past his smoker and tried his food. If you haven’t gone, see him next year! Some years I’ve helped but the last few years I’ve done my best to steer clear of the fair. However, talking with Daily Times Editor Mark Richard, the idea of an article for the fair came up. Like I said before, this column wouldn’t be complete without some coverage on someone’s favorite part of summer. So off to the fair I went.
Mark and I met at my dad’s booth and he cooked us up some steaks as big as your head. I’m obviously biased but they were delicious. As we were chatting about some future ideas I had for this column, my boss Tim Wolfe calls me and says Sawyer Brown (that night’s headliner) had came in to eat at Patties & Pints and they had left passes for a meet and greet. He was stuck at work and couldn’t get down there before they went on so off Mark and I went.
In the process of heading to grab the passes we ran into my friend Kyle James (aka the Waverly Hills architect) He would be meeting Sawyer Brown too!! Unfortunately, his wife wasn’t there, and she may or may not have made him sleep on the couch the entire weekend since she missed out.
Little backstory on Sawyer Brown…. I thought they were Jackson Brown. Listen, I normally do the movies not the music. So, we head to the t-shirt tent and things started to go down hill quickly. I spoke to the merchandise manager and he had no idea about the passes left for Tim. I told him the band had been in the restaurant and he asked which member. I said, “I don’t know I think Sawyer.” No-one in the band is named Sawyer. He laughs and goes to check with them and asks me to man the merch table. Immediately people come up and start asking me what size shirts “we” had in a certain color, and which CDs were being sold. I didn’t even know the lead singer’s name, of course I wouldn’t know which shirts were which. Thankfully the merchandise manager returned, and we were good to go. Also, his name wasn’t Sawyer either.
We get in line and meet the band. I had my notebook I usually use for my articles and had them all sign it. Very cool experience even if I didn’t know who they were. Mark and I grabbed some seats and listen for about half of the act and then went to find Tim. He got a kick out of my “name-drop” and they finished the night there.
I returned on Saturday evening by myself. I really wanted to get a feel for the crowd and the atmosphere and see if I was being too harsh on my opinions. Walking around the rides and games I noticed the happiness that was all around me. Kids playing ring-toss, shooting basketballs, riding all the rides. Pure joy. I then also remember a fair story of my own from when I was probably 10 or 11 years old. Aaron (my brother) and I were helping at the booth and for whatever reason I hadn’t eaten anything that day. It was miserably hot, and I had just been drinking Pepsi or Coke…all day. We hop on the magic carpet ride, it goes up in the air around and around. They still have it there just under a different name. I was seated next to two girls who looked like they were wearing their best Sunday dresses. You know where this is going don’t you? I threw up. All over them. With the only thing on my stomach being dark drinks it looked like chewing tobacco spit all over them. The ride ended, my brother laughed hysterically, the girls were crying, and we were gone. (Sorry girls!!!) I continued my journey throughout the fairgrounds and continued to reminisce of how much time I had been to fairs growing up.
Truthfully, this year was a lot of fun. Some people will always love it, and some will always hate it. The good news is I can tell you as someone who was on the fence there is fun to be had. I didn’t win any goldfish or get to ride the Ferris wheel but how life has been lately, some great memories were made.