Was a weekly column published in the Adrian Telegram's farm section for 13 yrs in the 40s
| Lenawee County Fair
The good old Lenawee county fair is not only time honored but time tired. Each oncoming year sees it still growing and at the top of it's class. To list all the features that make it so, would be a task. We buy our tickets sure of all the old familiar sights and sounds and many new ones, strange and thrilling. We know we will see a lot of folks we will be glad to see.
Whether we sit awhile to rest our feet, out in the pleasant shade or on a convenient seat where the crowd goes by, or feel too decrepit to go along with the rest of the family, and stay at home, our minds may stray to the past and as we think of other day we see how we and the fair have grown up together. Some can remember the old fair grounds back of where the armory now stands, How many of you were there the day the grandstands broke down? Hands up. Terrible, wasn't it?
Not so many years after that came the moving to the present site. If you were there that first year, you can still remember the smell of new lumber; the raw rough ground and the little trees. They were planted in Faith by folks working in Hope for a Love of the land and what it could bring forth - crops, cattle, children and (to be alliterative) cash. Everywhere was the beginning of what is now so complete and established.
However, many of the conveniences of then are gone, never to be needed again. There was the hitching rails, for one. While it was in the buildings and in the tents and at the race track that we looked for interest and excitement, it was out there among the rank of horses and buggies that we found some of the comforts of home. For ol'Doll and Billy, unhitched from surrey with a bundle of hay tied to the back and a pail swinging beneath it, there would be a good dinner. And for us there was a big basket. Within the curtains of the carriages there was privacy where Ma could come with the baby and where we could seek sanctuary when the merry-go-round and an overtaxed stomach had done their worst, and where we and maybe some other folks would gather round the festal horse blanket sped on the ground. Someone would come with a big watermelon and a bunch of celery, and Ma would open up the basket and pass out delights not surpassed by Thanksgiving or Christmas even though it's savor was mingled with less sanitary fragrance and though the baby might crawl on the tablecloth and come tearing by, yet is the memory of that chicken, "riz" biscuit and pumpkin pie not the least of the delights of the fair.
Among the faces in the crowd, we recall so many that are missing now. The week before the opening was, and still is, of course, a time of greatest activity; decorations going up, stock and all manner of exhibits brought in by hopeful growers or makers. Seemingly, through trying to be everywhere at the same time, the president, George B. Horton, would always have time for a friendly greeting or a bit of a chat. Everywhere anxious eyes would be cast at the sky. If hopes were realized there was sunshine in the offices as well as out side. If not, well, why not forget a rainy fair week?
The best of days must end. We gather at the parking lot. The horses are hitched to the surrey and we are homeward bound. Pa has to wind the lines around his hands and pull awful hard to keep ol'Doll and Billy down to the speed limit. He says he wonders if the hired hands got the rest of the corn cut and if the calves got in the neighbors garden. Ma hopes it hasn't seemed too long a day for Grandpa, along with the children, and she does hope to goodness the old sow hasn't slept all day in her for-get-me-not bed.
At lest we are back to the dear old farm and gather thirstily around the wind mill. We think a bit regretfully of the hard earned shekels we handed over to the migratory merrymakers. But after all it was a good time. And Lenawee Fair will continue to function.