County fair a great place to watch people

I spent Sunday afternoon in Jordan at the Scott County Fair. It's an event I've been attending pretty much every year since I've been working at The New Prague Times, and I've seen a few changes over the years.

The fair expanded from four days to five days sometime in the late 1990s, and with it, there have been new events and new features that have been used to draw in a crowd.

County fairs are a great place to watch people, and to run into people you haven't seen in awhile. They also can bring back some great memories. 

One of the best places to watch people is in the animal barns. You see 4-Hers working hard, trying to get their animals in perfect shape for their shows. You also see young children looking at these animals, sometimes in awe at their size, sometimes in delight at being able to come face to face with them.

I've got to admit one of the things I saw at this year's fair came during an adult open cattle show Sunday afternoon. While the adults were showing and a group of young people were doing the judging, a young boy - probably no older than 10, was moving about the show ring with a broom and scooper, with the unenviable task of picking up animal droppings from the ring. While this is not a job I'd enjoy, this youngster went about his chore with enthusiasm, seemingly oblivious to the action going on around him in the ring. It's obvious that this was his big moment at the fair, and he was going to make sure he enjoyed every minute of it.

Another must-see stop at the fair is the Midway, where young and old alike can enjoy the carnival rides and play games, hoping for that elusive prize. That brought back memories of going to the State Fair in the 1970s. One year I saw a large stuffed frog and determined that this frog had to go home with me. The game was simple enough, once I figured it out, and I managed to not blow my entire day's allotment of money in securing the frog. I'm not sure what those who were with me that day - cousin Kevin, my sister and her friend - thought of me carrying that frog around the rest of the day, but I was very proud of that thing.

And of course, what is a fair without food. To me, one of the staples of the Scott County Fair is a pork burger from the Scott County Pork Producers booth. When I was hungry, I walked around and looked at all the selections in the different booths, but my first stop was for a pork burger.

The Scott County Fair is over for this year, but I still have the chance to get to the Le Sueur County Fair later this month.