There was a full house for the king and queen presentation at the Morrow County Fair on Aug. 29, and the grandstand was packed with the surrounding hills crowded for the rodeo on Wednesday evening.
Yet, there were memorable moments taking place every day during fair week as fairgoers strolled around the fairgrounds in picture perfect weather, bumping into friends and enjoying a BBQ pork sandwich or a milkshake at pork producers’ and dairy booths.
The first stop for many who park on the south side of the fairgrounds is the Youth Building with 4-H booth exhibits. “Tiki lights and Country nights” was the theme for the Junior Fair this year.
Ann Artrip was looking at the booths and commented on the creativity of 4-H clubs. “I wondered how they would use the theme this year, and it’s amazing how they use lights and Aloha. They are so creative,” Artrip said.
Saving the horses and small animals for another day, my next stop was the commercial building with the Headwaters and Soil and Water exhibit. Children gathered there to try their hand at corn hole or a spin-a-wheel game for the chance to choose a treat from a big pan of candy.
Walking around the track, people stopped to take pictures of bales of hay decorated with various characters, along with plenty of stands with corn dogs, lemonade and funnel cakes.
A favorite gathering place is the honey display at the Arts and Crafts building. It features Drake’s Honey Bee products with honey offered in several forms. The Drakes said it’s been a good year for the bees in Morrow County. They have gotten several swarms of bees and pulled 120 gallons of honey this year, leaving the rest for the health of the bees.
Angie Drake introduced me to four generations of her family who produce honey. She learned from her father, Richard “Dick” Davis, and had her own honey 4-H project as a youth. She and her husband, Bill, have had bees more years than they can count, and her son, William, and his wife, Megan, carry on the tradition. They started a new exhibit this year of decorative wax and health and beauty care products. Their son, Liam, just loves honey and says he has it every day.
Next on the route is the Floral Hall, which is the oldest building in the fairgrounds. It holds a feast for the eyes with gladiolas, dahlias, and shelves with flower arrangements, plants and garden produce.
The scarecrow exhibit in the central hallway drew a crowd with Spring Valley Farm’s Creswell family scarecrow. It featured a cornstalk skirt, live ivy hair and a bouquet of succulent plants. Sarah Creswell said it was a creation of her daughter, Janey, and Janey’s grandmother Ruth Creswell.
A second day at the fair, Thursday, was spent at the Large Show Arena, watching the beef and dairy feeder calf shows. It was a special moment to see this year’s Junior Fair King Bryan Sayers show his beef feeder calf and queen contestant Elizabeth Leonard show her calf along with her sister Lydia. Fair royalty aren’t just pretty faces; they are serious competitors in the show ring.
There can be no thrill greater than having a child or grandchild win the Grand Champion title. The judge said it best that all the time and hard work of each youth shows in their poise and the way they exhibit the animal in lock step with its moves.
A last stop was the cattle barn after a look at the sheep, chickens, and rabbits before heading home.
The end of the day held a moment of sweetness and pure country delight to see Kyle and Jordan Cremeans’ children, Corey and Mikayla, cozy up to a new Jersey calf at the Chamberlain stalls.
Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent for The Morrow County Sentinel.