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Enjoy the fairs of summer

By Staff | Jul 2, 2010

When the sunbeams of the early dawn bring about that soft, blue sky and their touch makes dew sparkle, you know that summer days are here. What would summer be without a county fair?

While growing up in Underwood, the Mclean County Fair was right in our backyard. Just when the leaves of the park were at their brightest and our pink rose bushes were in full bloom, you could look across the railroad tracks and see the activity at the fair ground.

Do you have a favorite memory of the fair? Allow me a little personal reflection. I loved the toy cranes at the fair-you know the ones behind the glass boxes that were loaded with prizes. If you were able to capture any of these items with the jaws of the crane, it was yours! I was a master at working these cranes! Some folks thought they were rigged! Everyone likes a challenge, but some people like it more. It is wonderful when you are one of these folks!

Now the trick to operating the cranes and winning was patience! You also had to be generally willing to drop in a couple of quarters and work that crank ever so slowly. I was particularly interested in the mini glass oil lamps in jewel tones such as cobalt blue, ruby red, and deep emerald green. By the time the fair left town, I had a nice collection of lamps and cigarette lighters! Even back then, I had a spark of interest in light! I could spend hours at these cranes, and when viewing my collection in my bedroom, they gave me a powerful inner confidence. (It also helped that my folks had a Laundromat because there was never a shortage of coins!)

My coins were also well spent at the coin toss booth. In the middle of this booth were loads of dishes-usually buffalo china-and wherever your nickel landed, the china or glass wear was yours! To this day, my folks have enough oversized colorful goblets to entertain a small army! My brothers were also excellent at this game.

Usually the very nicest dishes were placed at the very top of the pile and were the hardest to claim. I recall getting my heart set on a very nice, powder blue buffalo china cream pitcher. The smooth finish and round edges on this piece of china made it look like a little pond. Even though my analytical skills were on overdrive, I could not land a coin in it. That is, until my older brother, Neal who was training to become a Marine, came to my aid! His mighty biceps took this little darling into custody with ease.

Also of great interest to me were the exhibits and vendors. One year at the Mclean County fair they even had an antique vendor. I was in heaven, and once I summarized the inventory, I strolled home to get my paper route money. In the very corner of their booth was set of eight red, white, and blue sherbet glasses and an old metal recipe box filled with handwritten recipe cards. There was no way the tilt-a-whirl could compare to this!

Rugby has revived their Pierce County Fair, and each year it adds a bit more. For the past three years, I have served as coordinator/judge for the local pie contest. I have always felt that any county that has ‘pie’ in its name needs to have a pie baking contest!

So I challenge you if you have not entered a contest at the fair, this is your year to invest in yourself. When that creative inspiration strikes you, put it to good use by entering one of the many contests at the county fairs as well as the North Dakota State Fair. This will certainly be a newsworthy item for your Christmas letter as well!

If you are lucky enough to win one of these magical contests, your Christmas letter will likely end up a best seller! If you are in Rugby July 1-4, stop by the Pierce County Fair. The pie contest will be held July 3 at 1 p.m. After the pies have been judged, the public will be invited to sample the pie of their choice for a mere $1.00-now that certainly is fair!

Remember, what’s good for your mind is also good for your soul! So get organized and structure yourself so that you can enter at least one fair contest! Both Jan and I have claimed a purple rosette at the fair along with a few blue ribbons. We figure this will look very nice in our obituaries down the road. Meanwhile, we are gathering up our energy to enter at least one of the exciting fair contests and hope you will do the same.

This recipe comes from a box of recipes I purchased at that antique stand when I was 12!

It is a basic recipe and easy to make. I present it to you as it was written on the card.

Repnow is a Rugby resident.

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