Summer brings the longest party of the year: county fair week. Instead of spending an evening at the lake, residents brave the heat and crowds to play. The yearly county fair mixes a hodgepodge of everything local with the iconic fair food and games. Even if the official announcement makes it past your notice, there are plenty of ways to spot the upcoming event. 

Yes, announcements for various fair events are printed and distributed to businesses. These small sheets provide the specifics of what you’ll see, but there is an unintentional strategy to draw the crowds. It seems mandatory that each fair display a giant cow statue. She acts as a beacon to those searching for the fairgrounds, her head held high above buildings and billboards. The cow’s appearance in town acts as confirmation that half of the new year has passed and her celebrity status is back.  

It’s not a fair until there’s a cow statue. 

Of course, kids seem to instinctively know when the fair is in town before the cow ever arrives. The countdown suddenly begins. It’s as if they can sense the trucks driving closer or smell the oil coming to give them deep-fried Oreos. Extra energy somehow gets stored for those coming hours on the fairgrounds. Despite all the rides and snacks they look forward to, though, you know their favorite part is still milking the fake dairy cow. 

The older kids, though, have prepared for months. Students in 4-H and FFA prep their crafts and animals for judging. Taking a break from the direct sun, parents who roam the stalls must prevent their toddlers from opening the locks while protecting them from annoyed rooster pecks. Meanwhile, prom season was just practice for pageant girls. Recalling past county pageants, mothers and grandmothers tell horror stories of summer floods and tornados that nearly prevented the contestants from being crowned. The competition may not be Miss America, but these girls work for local volunteer opportunities and the honor of a Christmas Parade float.  

The last confirmation of the fair is the appearance of the rides. These giant rides appear almost overnight, and word spreads fast once setup begins. Onlookers socialize as the excitement comes to town. Jokes about the rides’ safety are loudly shared and some map out where the funnel cake will be placed this year. What was an empty fairground last week is now full of activity. Once the rides are standing, you know the fun is only hours away.  

Southeast Dairy Association - Dairy Farming - Cow Feeding

From the future farmers preparing to show to the local dairy bringing treats to the fair committee planning months in advance, be sure to support everyone who works to bring you a fun-filled week. Whatever your local sign is for the arrival of the fair, you can’t miss it.