The routine didn’t vary much, from year to year nor from fair to fair. We would skirt around the lights and crowds of the midway, which was already beginning to fill with groups of kids shuffling through the twilight. We would move beyond its smells of French fries and sugar-laden cotton candy, roast turkey and sausage. That garden of delights would come later.
Our priority was the work-horse barns, where my friend’s dad and granddad housed their Belgians and Percherons. Because the farm bordered both Butler and Merser counties, they showed in both fairs. Honest, friendly animals weighing perhaps half a ton, my friend’s granddad kept the horses in condition by regular work in the fields. I suppose it kept him in condition, too; at age 70, he was a barrel-shaped man of immense strength.
County fair means tradition — a strong bastion of regional flavor in an increasingly Starmart world. The animals that are shown, the art that is displayed, the crops that are shown for judging all have, of necessity, a regional flavor to them.
As Clovis-Curry County Chamber of Commerce Director Ernie Kos remarked regarding the junior livestock sale: “It provides a wonderful opportunity for the local business community to show its support of our youths’ efforts at raising livestock.”
The county fair is a great event for community building, as well as community flavor. If you are like I am, you would never want to wear a watch for the fair. Time schedules can be deadly to socializing. After all, who wants to visit while watching the clock?
“To me the fair is like a family reunion — it’s an event that is all about community and community building. It is a gathering place to see family and friends,” Kos said.
She remembers as well being a teenager, going to the fair every night, “like the kids still do — because everybody would eventually be there.”
What is your favorite event? There are so many to choose from; they seem to change as one grows older. (By the way, there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I have been preparing for the turtle race by feeding my grandson’s turtle chocolate and coffee beans.)
What is your favorite memory? I hope you have some to choose from. If not, get on over to the fairgrounds this week and begin to create some.
Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at: