Ginger Rowsey, Senior writer

August 6, 2021

2 Min Read
county fair ride
All smiles! To be a kid at the county fair!Ginger Rowsey

It’s hard to believe it’s already August. Summer is flying by.  

I suppose Labor Day is the official unofficial end of summer, but, even though it’s still hot as blazes, when the calendar flips to August it seems we all begin to shift to a fall frame of mind. Schools start back. Friday night football starts up. Conversations around the farm shop turn to harvest. 

When I was a kid, the grand finale of any summer was always the county fair. My hometown fair took place in mid-August, and it was huge. A full week of livestock shows, tractor pulls, pageants, musical performances and all manner of spectacles. I can remember seeing mules dive into a pool from 30 feet up. I once watched a hypnotist put about 20 people under a spell. Tight rope walkers, fire jugglers, alligator wranglers — you never knew what you might see during fair week. 

The shows were usually entertaining, or at least odd enough to hold your attention, but the main draw for most young fair visitors was the midway carnival rides. Bright, flashing lights, blaring music and the thrilling sensation of being spun into a stupor on rides like the Scrambler, the Sizzler and Wipe Out.  

We would look forward to the fair for weeks, and when it finally arrived, we would beg our parents to take us as many nights as possible. They mostly obliged. I can still recall the anticipation as my mom pulled our minivan into the dusty fair parking lot and we caught the first glimpse of the Ferris wheel rising above the barns and exhibit buildings and heard the sounds of livestock mixing with the midway music.  

Of course, we were always chomping at the bit to jump on the rides, but my parents insisted we look at everything before we bought our tickets. Only after we had toured the pioneer village, checked out the prize-winning hog and perused every single entry of canned peaches, preserves, pickled relish, and the likes, could we head to the midway. It’s a tactic I now recognize as “running out the clock.” Then it just seemed like torture. 

When we finally made it to the carnival area we were like Cinderella at the ball, making the most of every moment. Can you remember the joy of riding a carnival ride as a child? That light, completely unburdened feeling as you floated through the air. It’s too bad you can’t bottle that experience. Although it does sound like something some carnival scam artist might try to sell you. 

I still go to my hometown fair every year, taking my own kids now. Our last summer hurrah as a family. Yes, I make them look at everything before they ride the rides. It’s tradition. Just like the county fair. 

About the Author(s)

Ginger Rowsey

Senior writer

Ginger Rowsey joined Farm Press in 2020, bringing more than a decade of experience in agricultural communications. Her previous experiences include working in marketing and communications with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. She also worked as a local television news anchor with the ABC affiliate in Jackson, Tennessee.

Rowsey grew up on a small beef cattle farm in Lebanon, Tennessee. She holds a degree in Communications from Middle Tennessee State University and an MBA from the University of Tennessee at Martin. She now resides in West Tennessee with her husband and two daughters.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like