The Journey: County Fairs bring memories of simpler times

This column was originally published on Sept. 10, 2021.

By SAMANTHA BRAZIE, Special to The Paper

It’s Fair time, Paper readers! When I reminisce about this event, it overwhelmingly reminds me of simpler times. Petting zoos, animal exhibits, competitions, cotton candy, funnel cake and rides that make you sick. The fair seems to hit all our senses, reminding us of some of the favorite times in our youth. So many memories, all wonderful.

The Kiwanis Coweta County Fair is the first fair of its size that my kids went to and the first time they played carnival-type games. They spent lots of time with the animals, stuffed their faces full of food and rode as many rides as they could, resulting in the first time one of them threw up in the trash can in public. It’s where I learned my husband wouldn’t get on a Ferris wheel to save his life (there’s a story behind that I’ll tell you if you ask) and the very first time I let my youngest go with his sisters and brother without me in that type of setting.

When I was a kid growing up, my mom took us to the Wisconsin State Fair every year. The fair there started in 1851 and is quite a bit bigger than ours. Lots of goats, pigs, sheep, chicken and cattle which was similar. The biggest differences were that cream puffs were an absolute necessity in WI, and the state fair had a different concert every night. It’s where I saw Hootie and the Blowfish, the Beach Boys play with John Stamos and TLC.

Back then I decided that I loved the Tilt-A-Whirl and Music Express above all of the rides and if there were only two I could go on, those would be it. I would get my sister (and sometimes both sisters) to get on the Tilt-A-Whirl with me and lean in to spin it as fast as I could and give an evil laugh when my youngest sister would tell me to stop because she was going to get sick.

I’d sit on the outside of Music Express so I’d get squished and laugh like crazy when we started spinning crazy fast and the music got so loud we couldn’t hear anything else. Then there were bumper boats and go karts. Back when we didn’t worry about hand sanitizing in between everything we did and everyone drank from the same bubbler (water fountain). Maybe ignorant, but definitely simpler times.

But friends, do you know what I love most about our local county fair? Kiwanis is a wonderful asset to our community with many servant leaders running the organization that brings hundreds of volunteers together to help raise money for our local nonprofits. If I’m not mistaken, in 2019 alone they raised over $175,000 to give back to our community via a grant application process. Now more than ever it is important to support our friends and neighbors as we continue to recover from the tornado that devastated so many in March, as well as nonprofits that are still trying to survive through the impact COVID has had on their funding. If you don’t feel that you’re ready to attend the fair or don’t like fairs in general, you can always donate to Kiwanis via their website. Until next time!

We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something. – Mother Teresa

Questions? Comments?  Email me at [email protected].

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