I hope to see you at the county fair

Luther Dorr

Ho hum, another Mille Lacs County Fair takes place this week.

That’s the attitude that some in this hurry-up age of ours have about a simple little county fair.

There are express lanes at grocery stores, hurry-up offenses in football, and on-the-go lifestyles that find Mom and Dad going their separate ways, in separate vehicles, to follow or transport their kids.

I submit that a county fair slows down the pace of our lives, if only for a few days, and that we need something like that.

This is the 121st Mille Lacs County Fair (well, really the 120th since the fair was called off in 1903, but that’s another story for another time) and there is much to offer if you just take the time to check out the schedule.

The county fair is a lot of things. It’s 4-Hers proudly bringing in their exhibits and waiting for them to be judged. It’s the smiles that go with a blue or purple ribbon but it’s also the tears that sometimes just can’t be held back when the ribbon awarded isn’t the right color.

The county fair is grandstand shows that this year include a tractor pull tonight (Thursday), stock car races on Friday and a demolition derby on Saturday.

The county fair is entertainment at the band shell every day, including the local Bistodeau Band and Alex Parenteau & The Silver Wings, a band that has been playing forever, it seems. Alex and his band have received numerous awards through the years and the band’s closing rendition of Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings” is one that always moves me, as it does other veterans from the Vietnam era.

There are lots of other things going on at the band shell, including a talent contest Saturday, the 4-H fashion revue, a cultural dance demonstration, a number of things for kids, a fiddling contest, and on and on.

Food? Who hasn’t eaten one (or two or three) pork chops at the Tri-County Pork Producers concession? And there is Firehouse Barbecue by Sarah Strandberg of Princeton. I promise you’ll go back if you go once. First Congregational from Princeton is selling brats and there’s the 4-H food stand.

There are plenty of things for kids to do, such as the money grab, pedal tractor pull, a puppet act called Tricia and the Toonies, etc.

Senior citizens get in for half price (only $3) on Friday and there are events for them. On Sunday there are contests for men and women older than 18 that include nail driving and bale throwing.

You can play bingo at the American Legion/Auxiliary tent, attend dairy shows and horse shows,  take your kids to the midway, attend the ever-popular All-American Lumberjack Show, and even take part in a free lunch for the first 750 people through the gate on Sunday.

Among the new offerings is a brand new TIP (Turn In Poachers) trailer that will make its debut here, as well as the Farm Bureau safety trailer for kids.

The county fair is a chance to visit with friends . . . or try your hand at dumping someone at the Princeton Youth Hockey Association’s dunk tank . . . or watch proudly as your 4-H grandchildren lead an animal around the ring . . . and it’s a hundred things, or maybe only one thing, that one thing being enough to get you to come to the fair.

It’s dozens of other things listed in the fair brochure and detailed in stories in this week’s Town & Country Shopper.

If you can’t find something of interest, sorry, you just aren’t trying hard enough. And a fair button costs only $6.

The fair began in the middle of September in 1892, many from the area making the trip by train to attend.

It’s easier than that for you and here’s hoping we run into each other over the next four days.

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