Friday, August 17, 2012

As the 2012 GREAT Miami County Fair becomes a memory ...

Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer
The 2012 edition of the Miami County Fair is in the books.

As we watched participants tear down, pack and clean their respective spaces on Thursday there was the familiar bittersweet feeling. On one hand, it was a relief that it was ending, for fair week is for many of us, the longest week of the year. On the other, there was a feeling of sadness. It is like parting with a friend, knowing that an entire year may pass before you see them again.

I doubt that anyone will disagree that this year’s Miami County Fair could be one of the best ever based on our weather. Moderate temperatures during day and cool nights made this year’s fair comfortable for everyone from visitors to project and show animals.

The weather certainly had a significant impact on attendance. 

Perhaps the most talked-about event at this year’s fair was the Pig & Calf Scramble. 

The event is a much anticipated one at other fairs and it was eagerly awaited here. About 1600 people packed the grandstand to watch the event. 

In these days of Nintendo, Wii and computer games, it was refreshing to watch kids of all ages, (and any of you who watched the adult division of the calf scramble, know what I mean by “kids” of all ages,) take part in a fun physical activity. 

Much fun was had by all. The animals were probably happy when the chasing stopped. Some of the human participants wore bruises and abrasions as trophies following the event but everyone came away safe and happy.

It is also great to see our local 4-H Clubs going so strong. As a former 4-H member, (the Staunton Hustlers with advisors Bill and Mary Ann Cusac,) it means a lot to me when I see our youngsters involved in a 4-H project of any sort. The resulting lessons in responsibility and accountability for their projects, as well as the interaction with fellow 4-H Club members and adults as they present their projects for judging are among the best life lessons they can get.

A 4-H project also promotes family time and family values. Very few projects are solely that of the member. I can remember my dad keeping a watchful eye on my projects and I see the same thing today. A 4-H project for one becomes a family interest for all.

As I traveled the fairgrounds this past week with my good friend Laura Sutherly, webmaster for the Miami County Fair board and a very fine photographer, as well, I was impressed by not only the crowds and the fair patrons enjoying themselves, but also by how smoothly things ran.

Many of us take it for granted when we attend the fair but every portion of the fair requires planning and hard work to make it go. We are blessed in Miami County to have fair board members who give up much of their free time to see that the fair is safe and enjoyable for all. 

They are supported by Junior Fair Board members, most of them area high school students, who rather than spend hours out of school going to parties, plan and work to make the Miami County Fair a success.

I would like to thank all of the fair board and junior fair board members and the many other volunteers for their efforts in making the Miami County Fair … the GREAT Miami County Fair.

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