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County fair season hits its peak soon

sheep
COUNTY FAIR COMPETITION: You will find animals like this one on fairgrounds all over Indiana this month, awaiting their “moment of fame” in the show ring.
Throwback Thursday: How many county fairs have you visited so far?

July is the prime month for county fairs in Indiana. If your fairgrounds can flood like Jefferson or Johnson County, then locals usually look for “toad-stranglers” during the week of the fair. Sometimes it’s 100 degrees during these fairs, like in 2012; then sometimes it’s in the ’70s and cloudy.

Weather may be a mixed bag, but county fairs are always fun. This is the final rundown of fairs I have visited at least once. To see where else I’ve been, check out my blogs from last week and two weeks ago.

We would also like to know where you have been. If you’ve visited county fairs either this year or in the past, send your comments to tom.bechman@farmprogress.com.  We will collect the comments and share them with everyone.

Here are more fairs I have visited.

• Shelby. Since it’s close to home, I’ve been to this fair several times. Many years ago a friend and I watched a tractor pull, sitting in the old wooden grandstands with a roof that overlooked a circular track. Horse races were held there at one time. Unfortunately, the grandstands were later damaged by fire.

I’ve also watched cattle shows there with my wife, Carla. The show ring is relatively open, but it does have a roof so you won’t get wet if it rains.

Tippecanoe. OK, this one is a stretch. I’ve driven by it before while the fair was in progress. Located in Lafayette, this fair draws lots of livestock exhibitors and features a big swine show. I’ve attended pig sales and other events in the fair’s huge livestock barn, and attended Extension meetings in other buildings on the fairgrounds.

Wabash. Wabash County wasn’t on my list of fairgrounds that flood, but it certainly did when I visited several years ago. The parking lots were a muddy mess, but it didn’t stop us from attending to watch my wife’s nieces and nephew show pigs and cattle. Here is another fair that has a very stout swine show each year.   

White. My visit to the White County Fair in Reynolds goes back to my college days. I specifically wanted to see the Young McDonald’s farm operated by FFA chapters in White County. An open-sided building provided a good place for FFA members to display various young animals so kids who didn’t live on a farm could get a feel for what they were like. I was friends with John Culver, FFA advisor at Frontier High School, and the late Don Purkhiser, FFA advisor at Twin Lakes High School in Monticello at the time. I was there after dark, but the building was well lit, and young children and their parents streamed through to see the animals.

Marion. Yes, I’ve already presented some memories from attending the Marion County Fair. But one memory I overlooked is worth sharing. Several years ago, a friend and I went there specifically to see the horse pulls. Yes, horse pulls — at the fair in the most populous county in the state! It was the first and last horse pull I ever saw!

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