Long Associations With The Warren County Fair

View from Hickory Heights

The Warren County Fair brings many memories. It has been part of our lives since the 1970s. My first experience with the fair was creating grange displays. Every year there was a theme. We could interpret the theme as we saw fit. Ida Grace, our neighbor, was the one who got us interested in the Grange. I think there were two meetings a month. I took the children and a bag of toys and some snacks with me to the meetings. They quietly played, usually on the floor by one of the chairs as I filled in for various officers.

The fair had recently moved to the Barton Run Road site. Everything was in tents. You cannot believe how muddy it was.

As I walk around the grounds today it is hard to imagine “back in the day” when if it rained you needed to wear boots for the rest of the week.

Today many of the walkways are paved. It is easy for strollers and wheelchairs to get around. It is like a small city once everyone moves in with their campers. There are people I do not see any other time of the year so I look forward to going.

We made the decision not to camp this year, but we will go down to see some of the concerts and walk around. Last year was Don’s initiation to the fair. He told me later that he wondered what we would do everyday down there, but he had a very good time. Hopefully, we can camp again next year.

I am not a particular fan of fair food as are others. When we camped, we shared cooking duties. I always provided a couple meals as well as homemade cookies. It made things easy for everyone.

Don likes the fried dough with cinnamon and sugar so he always gets some of that. I like taffy and candy apples – but not as much as I used to. My stomach is touchier than it used to be. It thanks me if I stick to food cooked in the camper.

The fair would not be complete without walking through the barns. When the children and grandchildren were part of 4H we spent a lot of time there. I looked forward to playing some games with the adults. I remember playing “spoons”. I was not very good at it.

When my own children were in 4H I always took the show nights to chaperone the barn. That was a good night because no one was into mischief. They were concentrating on getting their animals ready to be shown.

When my children were in the band, I took a day as the day chairman at the ice cream booth. Sometimes someone did not show up to work their shift. That meant I had to scour the grounds for a replacement.

Sometimes I worked the gates. They were always busy. I stamped people as they entered and tore off their tickets. You would not believe how inventive people became trying to enter the grounds free. All of those who get in free have passes so now it is easy.

One year a group of young people scaled the gate right by Director’s Hill. We immediately called security and took out after them. This did not end up good for them. To make things worse, I knew a couple of the kids because I had them in school!

One grandchild is coming home from Texas for the fair this year. She did not want to miss it. Last year without a fair was hard on everyone. People who camp at the fair are very dedicated.

People are still advertising for help so I do not know how it will be. I am sure that some of the groups who count on the fair for a fundraiser will be doing things differently. I have seen a lot of unfilled spots on several groups’ schedules.

I am happy that the fair will be returning in 2021. I wish them well as they have been planning for at least two years. When will we get back to normal? I thought maybe this was the year with all of the vaccinations, but it does not appear to be so.

We are back to masks in some areas. I am thoroughly convinced that COVID is here to stay. We are just going to learn how to live with it as we have done with other illnesses. While the vaccines help, they may only lessen the symptoms, but that is something. At least we will not end up in the hospital fighting for our lives.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today