When I graduated from college, my first job was as a beat reporter for the Gazette Newspapers in Montgomery County, Maryland. I had big dreams of reporting on big things, and growing into in an astonishingly talented writer. So when my editor assigned me to the county fair, it would be fair to say I was mildly devastated. Surely my talents exceeded reporting on pig races and fried dough? Aside from the fact that my talents did not exceed reporting on pig races and fried dough, that assignment was all it took to love the county fair.
From where I live and stand, there is not much insight and appreciation of agricultural life in America but that life does exist. Not perhaps at the capacity of the last century, but at whatever level, it's a part of our economy. And an important part of any self-sufficient nation. Can you imagine how vulnerable we would be if everything we ate and drank was imported from other countries? There are children learning to grow food and sustain an agricultural lifestyle, and you can see (and support) all of that at the county fair.
And maybe I have a soft spot for the fair from having seen the original Charlotte's Web when I was six, or the rides, or the little animals, or the demolition derby, or the fried everything...there's so much going on and it's all fun. Even if you don't participate in any of the activities or events, just looking at everything and everyone around you is an experience.
And now that I have offspring, I want to force the county fair on them to show them just how fun life can be. And it's really not that hard: show a kid a tiny animal and love happens. It's impossible to pry your child away from cute animals, or gigantic carrots, or cotton candy, or games where they can win toys that will clutter up your house.
The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair started yesterday and runs through Saturday, August 17. The schedule can be found HERE.
The photos here are from the 2012 Montgomery County fair. We unfortunately went in the evening (and a rainy one at that) so no farm animals were seen. This year we are headed out first thing in the morning.