BY SARAH NIGBOR
Fair anticipation builds
This week has been a busy one here at The Journal. Besides putting out the regular paper and all the tasks, interviews and meetings associated with that, we’ve been working on our special Pierce County Fair edition. It’s been so much fun digging into all things “Fair.”
This year, the Pierce County Fair is celebrating 100 years of the Round Barn (plus one) and Pierce County 4-H. The Round Barn, built in 1920, is a landmark of the fairgrounds. How many Pierce County residents and visitors have marched up and down its wooden stairs to view vegetable and photography exhibits, or traipsed around the lower level signing up for drawings, buying local products or getting samples?
As I sat in the basement of the Pierce County Historical Association’s River Bluffs History Center in Bay City, poring through material Pat Mory found for me on the Round Barn, I kept going down rabbit holes. My goal was to research the Round Barn’s birth in honor of the fair’s theme. I had pages of material to choose from. What kept getting me sidetracked was all the other fair stories from past editions. What a rich history our beloved county fair has.
Some of my favorite childhood memories are of attending the Pierce County Fair, first as a regular fair-goer, later as a 4-H member, and even later as a journalist and 4-H mother.
Darting in and out of the tractor displays, scrambling up on each one to model from the seats.
Petting the bunnies in the rabbit and poultry barn, when we were lucky enough to visit when a 4-Her had their bunny out for a breather.
Almost dying of heat stroke while my mother oohed and aahed over the tomatoes and carrots in the second story of the Round Barn.
Hearing the roar and rumble of cars smashing into one another at the demo derby while eating hot, buttery popcorn, cheering for my favorite car.
Thinking I was going to die when my friend convinced me to go on the Zipper after eating a footlong corn dog. The thrill was amazing, but boy was I sick after.
Watching my mom and grandma run into relatives and friends, while I tapped my foot impatiently because I wanted to go on rides and they just wouldn’t stop chatting.
Seeing the beautiful flower displays in the Round Barn and feeling proud when my grandma’s coleus won Grand Champion.
Bursting with pride and excitement when my bunny, Buffy, finally earned a blue ribbon (in previous years she received a second and fourth. Let’s just say she really liked to eat clover and it showed).
Bursting with even more pride as I watched my daughter enter her first Cloverbud exhibits and my son sing “I’m Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood in the talent show.
And of course, sampling the pie at Our Savior’s booth, the hot beef dinner at English Lutheran, the cheese curds at the Knights of Columbus, the cheeseburgers at St. Francis, the malts at the 4-H food stand, and generally just consuming enough calories for a small nation.
Ah, the fair. I’m so excited it’s back and better than ever in 2021. Please keep an eye out for our fair edition, which has some pretty great stories. Sneak peak: Frank Ginther’s retirement, the secret behind the fair PA system, Beef Boss (yum!), and you guessed it, the Round Barn.
See you at the Pierce County Fair, Aug. 1215!