A Letter from Andy: Summer Over?

What?! Summer is nearly over? Yes, summer is drawing to a close and in Van Wert, Ohio that means more than Labor Day. It means it’s time for the Van Wert County Fair. This is the 158th county fair and that is a pretty big deal.

158 years ago Van Wert County hosted its first county fair. Agriculture was the biggest segment of the economy and nearly every other segment either supported it or relied on it. The year was 1856. Abraham Lincoln was merely a lawyer from Illinois after a failed run for the Senate and the Civil War was inconceivable to most citizens. Commerce and industry were still in their infancy in Northwest Ohio, and yet, the agricultural leaders of our county decided to put on a fair to celebrate and recognize the amazing productivity and promise of this rich farm ground that surrounds us. And so it goes today.

Per usual there is always something going on at the fair from opening day until the closing night curfew. Here are several things you should try to see or participate in:

“once-a-year” foods from a huge variety of food-stands (many raising money for good causes), livestock judging, harness racing, truck & tractor pull, hot-air balloon launch, milk mustache contest at the Dairy Barn, rides and games of the midway, big name country music performers at the Grandstands, the commercial building, all the judged produce and art and flowers and animals, auto demolition derby, inspiring music at the Gospel Pavilion, speakers and singers at the Entertainment Tent, and much much more including Naked Karate Girls at the Grandstand (I am not sure what that is, but thought it worth noting).

Check out the Fair’s website at www.vanwertcountyfair.com or look them up on Facebook for the latest happenings. Or do as I do and just go on out there. Something is always going on and you know all your friends are already there. I mean, come on, the Van Wert County Fair is the best county fair in the world.

The end of summer also means school is back in session. Watch out for those yellow buses. Get behind your favorite football team and be sure to check out Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Cross Country, Volleyball, and Golf. There are a lot of competitive sports that are quite interesting and we should all get out and support our athletes. If you have a student in school, support them in their studies. Encourage them and help with homework or at the very least be sure they keep up and do well. In the big picture it matters a lot because scholastics are important and make every aspect of adult life easier and better. No kids? Think about mentoring one. Maybe there is a program at a school near you that is looking for knowledge you have to offer. You’ll find it rewarding because we get what we give in life. It may not take an entire village to raise a child, but it takes a lot of effort by a lot of different people to do it right. And don’t forget to watch out for those yellow buses and kids crossing the street.

And finally, the end of summer does, mean Labor Day. The day we don’t celebrate politicians, sports figures, celebrities, the military, or even love. Those groups already have a special holiday or they are somehow certain to “have their day.” Labor Day is about celebrating the worker. That’s you and me and most everyone we know. Now, ain’t that cool! So Happy Labor Day to all of you! Do something special for yourself. Hey, you could go to the fair to celebrate.

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