Column: County fairs are where memories are made

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Scenes from the final day of the Crawford County Fair.

What are your memories of the Crawford County Fair?

As a city boy growing up in Galion, I didn’t raise animals, except for a few rabbits and the occasional cat and dog that showed up on our doorstep after they had been dropped off in Heise Park by some heartless pet owner.

We picked the rabbits out at a place on Millsboro Road and kept then in cages behind our garage. I don’t remember their names, but I remember one really good rabbit story. According to my mom, we had two rabbits who were named after our Aunt Polly and Uncle Red, who lived in Wooster.

Polly and Red were mom’s favorite aunt and uncle.

At the time, my dad was a teacher at Galion High School.

Well, one night Polly and Red died. Mom went out to check on them and found them motionless on the floor of their cage.

She was devastated.

She called the high school. Sobbing, she asked if someone could get a message to her husband. Through mom’s crying and hysterics, the message kind of got garbled, and the person who relayed the message only told dad that he probably needed to go home, because “Polly and Red” had died.

My dad’s first thought was that mom’s aunt and uncle, who had taken her to Florida, California and elsewhere while she grew up in Mansfield, had been in some horrible accident and had been killed.

He fled out the building, got into his car and roared down the alley near his home on Summit Street. He found mom in the kitchen crying her eyes out.

He gave her a big hug and asked: “Oh my God! What happened?”

Through sobs, mom replied that she went out back to feed the rabbits, and they were dead.

The way dad tells this story is that he looked at his wife and said: “What?”

And that’s when he figured out mom was talking about the rabbits. And then dad cracked up and started laughing.

We’ve told that story for years.

I think it’s true. But mom and dad were great jokesters, so you just never know. Still … what a great memory!

Morememories will be made during the one-week run of the Crawford County Fair.

I remember in fifth or sixth grade, several of my Galion friends and I decided we were going to ride our bikes to the fair in Bucyrus. We left Galion mid-morning. There were six of us, I believe. But we only have four bikes, so two of us took turns riding on an uncomfortable seat or the handlebars the 10 miles to the fair.

We played some games, tried to flirt with some girls from Colonel Crawford. We had a late lunch and I remember a pretty good sunburn. That is a wonderful memory.

I also used to watch friends show their horses. I loved the animal barns, especially the pigs. And despite the Polly and Red tragedy, I loved the rabbits.

I also remember the food.

Back in the day, I never went to the fair without getting a sausage, onion and pepper sandwich. Sometimes I walked around big order of fries covered in salt, ketchup and vinegar. And the lemon drinks were perfect on a hot dusty day in Bucyrus

These days the food is a little hard to take, although an occasional gyro hits the spot.

But I still have those memories.

There will be more memories made this year.

Kids will show their horses and alpacas and their puppies and the clothing they made.

Those kids with horses and pigs and steers will show and sometimes sell the animals they’ve spent years raising and grooming. There will be kids — who like me — will lose their sausage sandwich after getting off one of the midway rides.

And there will be a lot of family time.

Some families park their RVs at the fair on Saturday and spend the whole week there.

What are your fondest Crawford County Fair memories?

Is it the first $6 you won at the harness racing. Or the $20 you lost the following night?

Was it New Kids on the Block or Kellie Pickler?

I really liked the demolition derby and the tractor pulls. When one of those tractors fired up and you can feel the ground shake … amazing!

I don’t have kids, but I hear stories of my nephews and nieces of their fair experiences. Maybe I can get to one this year.

I would love to meet Charlie Brown, the alpaca my niece is spending a lot of time with this summer.

So what’s your favorite fair memory?

Is it watching a child, or niece or nephew or grand child show off their project?

Or something else?

Send me a memory and I will try to include it in an upcoming story.

Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest and share your favorite fair memory. If you have a photo to go with that story, send it along.

Scenes from the final day of the Crawford County Fair. from the final day of the Crawford County Fair.
Email Russ Kent at