Have you been to The Great Geauga County Fair in Burton, Ohio? An individual would be hard pressed to hear a “no” from anyone who lives in the vicinity of the quiet country landscape in Geauga County, Ohio. The fair has been a faithful mainstay for nearly two hundred years. It is one of the oldest, continually running events of its kind in the United States of America. That is why National Geographic magazine included this steadfast event in their October 1997 article “County Fairs” (http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/enlarge/geauga-county-race_pod_image.html).
Personally, I have long suspected that The Great Geauga County Fair is indeed great. Born and raised just five miles from its entrance, I am very familiar with the details of this “jollification” (as it was first referred to in its early days before formal organizing bodies were established). The fair is chocked full of activities, exhibitions, demonstrations, live entertainment, vendors, games, rides, food, friendly competitions . . . If you are bored, it is not for a lack of things to do.
Giddy is the word that comes to mind when I begin to anticipate this occasion. I may look forward to it more than Christmas morning. There are certain expectations that I trust will be fulfilled every year. This fair does not disappoint. It is assumed that being fun and reliable is an unlikely combination. The Great Geauga County Fair has proven otherwise. Since my early days of being pulled down the thoroughfare in a little red wagon I have been developing a list of favorites things to see and do. Thankfully, the list of musts persist from my youth and have not been faded out as “old” or “out of fashion”.
To this day, I drag a friend through the goat and sheep barns, where I resist exiting before petting every creature. The flower barn is another favorite of mine. It is important to stop and smell the blossoms, and I do. As a youngster, I entered baked goods and volunteered my time at the honey tasting booth in the honey barn. I continue to make a point of inhaling the scent of fresh hay and allowing my eyes to behold the walls of color in the produce barns. The Great Geauga County Fair is a delight to the senses.
For those who like a little more action, there are horse races, fire department competitions and demolitions derbies. There are plenty of things for the kids to do too. Like fishing, being in the diaper dash, entering a frog jumping contest or tending to their 4-H project. There is always something going on at The Great Geauga County Fair and the fair board continues to add and improve to the already wonderful schedule.
For educational purposes, a person could question representatives from various companies at The Great Geauga County Fair. If you are considering the purchase of new equipment, perhaps you should peruse the showcase at the fairgrounds. If you are simply looking for a way to spend your money, no major purchase necessary, the fair is accommodating. From tractors, to food, to beaded purses. What could you want that the fair does not have? You can even go camping there.
The saddest thing about The Great Geauga County Fair is that it officially marks the end of summer. Kids go back to school. Evenings become cool. Leaves begin to change color. Another year winds down. And behind the scenes, people are already preparing for the next year’s Great Geauga County Fair.
Jenny Hershberger is the author and photographer of the book “Single and Content: a Journey from Despair to Delight”, www.SingleAndContent.com / www.JHersh.com.