Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Friday, August 6, 2010

Greene County Fair, 2010

This week is our county fair.  I remember the Greene County Fair from when I was a kid and am overwhelmed by the changes that have taken place since my teens.   Oh, I know, I'm remembering another time, like old people do, I never thought I'd be remembering things from the past in such a melancholy way.

Our county fair is one of the oldest in Ohio.  This year it celebrates 171 years of continuous memories.  I'm sure folks older than myself remember those days fondly and with some yearning to go back to those old times.  Back when I was a kid, the grounds were shaded by the biggest old trees.  The barns were spacious, the air moved through them and the floors were dirt.  The animal pens were wooden and easy to climb into.  The most important part about the wooden framed pens, you could sit balanced on the top board and visit with friends and keep an eye on your animals!  The hog barns were a maze of short wooden gates blocking the way of any escaping hogs.  Some people wish for longer legs to look more elegant and to add height to their stature, I always wanted longer legs to cross those many hog gates that were always four inches taller that I could climb gracefully.  I remember the dairy barn full of local dairy herds, the boys would actually sleep on hay bales beside their cattle, to keep watch on them through the night.  (Of course, girls were not allowed to do this!)

On September 20, 2000, another tornado blew through Xenia, Ohio.   This tornado took out most of the fairgrounds beautiful old trees and many of the barns.  It was decided to rebuild the buildings and rearrange the grounds.  New barns of metal were erected, the ground was covered in cement and black asphalt.  You can go to the fair now and not have to worry about getting your shoes muddy when it rains, there is no mud to be found!  All that black asphalt is hot!  The barns are hot, the ventilation in the metal barns is not enough to keep me happy.  All the animal pens are metal bars, barely enough room for two hogs to be comfortable and cool.  The isles are narrow, no room to stop and talk to your friends.  To climb into the pen and get to the show box, where all your necessary supplies are kept, requires youth and coordination!  The little hurtles and gates that I used to have so much trouble with have been replaced with hinged metal gates, I have to admit, I do like that.

When I was a kid, from the age of nine until I graduated, I was in 4-H.  Some of my favorite memories of growing up were being in 4-H.  There wasn't many projects I didn't take.  Some years I carried as many as nine projects at a time.  I remember showing beef steers and hogs.  I took sewing, numerous cooking projects, first aid, photography, refinishing furniture, demonstrations, Ohio birds and I did demonstrations.  I also was a Jr. Leader, which required me to help during events at the fair.  At least one of my projects each year went to the Ohio State Fair the following week.  It was so much fun and the highlight of my summers.

What I don't remember is my brother and sister also had projects, probably as many as I did.  I honestly don't know how my Mother was able to keep it all straight.  We always made it on time to our events with just the right clean clothes!  How on earth did she do that?

Oh my gosh,  I'm forgetting..........  My three children were just as active, with as many projects as they could possibly do and demonstrations from cooking to grooming a horse.   They showed hogs and sheep and steers.  We even went so far as to take our big old motor home to the fair grounds to camp for the week!  I remember running to the laundromat just to keep clean jeans for the kids to wear.  How on earth did I do that?  Oh yes, you might be thinking that my wonderful husband was there helping along the way.  Not necessarily, he was an Ag. teacher for thirty six years and had his FFA boys involved in their own events and projects.   My wonderful husband was there if we needed some extra help and he was always there when the kids showed, helping with moving the animals from place to place.  Thank goodness the kids were dependable and responsible.  They always seemed to be where they were suppose to be on time and without the help of a cell phone!

Yesterday I went to the Greene County fair.  The entire family, Aunts, cousins and Grandparents, came to watch Cait show her hogs.  She had a big smile on her face and her parents were very proudly watching too.  That part of the county fair experience hasn't changed.  The accomplishment of a project completed successfully, ribbons were Cait's reward.  Having one pig penned for second place in her class was exciting. Our reward was watching Cait show her pigs, which she loved doing.  For a moment I was able to block out the heat of the barn, the treeless landscape, the asphalt grounds and enjoy the wonderful smile of my children and grandkids at the county fair once again.


  1. Glad that your feeling better! Wonderful memories and more to come I'm sure.

    I want to try art journaling too. I found a big old atlas book that I think would transform beautifully. I'll have to wait a bit because my brother and his wife are visiting. We haven't seen each other in ten years. So you can see why I appreciate your closeness to your family.
    Best wishes, Elizabeth

  2. What fun! Though the fair is different now, I bet Cait will have fond fair memories too!