Guest Author - Amanda Masoner
It is obviously summer and fairs are in the air! Almost every community has one in or near their town. And now is the time to take advantage! Some fairs have an entry fee and/or parking fee. Some do not. I was able to visit my family last weekend and attend the Mighty Howard County Fair, located in Cresco, Iowa, fun-filled and free!
For a county with less than 10,000 inhabitants they really know how to put on a fair. I was only there for a few days and there was plenty to see.
The 4-H building had a very large display of what the different groups (age and subject) had created over the year. In the center were some impressive pieces that were heading to the state fair. They even had a silent auction going on wherein people were able to bid on handmade items and ready-made packages put together by the club members.
The Expo Center, like usual, was filled to the brim with all kinds of sales and informational booths ranging from artwork to wind energy! With free popcorn at the door, a bag to carry all of the free trinkets each booth gives away, and air conditioning, one could keep circulating in there for an afternoon!
As of 2006 people have been able to take a stroll through the Howard County Historical Preservation Center located on the fairgrounds. There is more than enough in this museum to keep people of all ages roaming for quite some time. Howard County citizens have donated most things. There is a section on Norman Borlaug, the Green Revolutionist. There is a very large area filled with old farm implements. Even a section devoted to old medical and dental tools! There are also volunteers on hand for anyone with a question.
The Wildlife Building is home to loads of different mounted animals from around the region. This year there were several large aquariums holding area fish. If you head into the back room there is one wall completely covered in a wildlife mural. This building could be a great tool for parents wanting to teach their children about some of the local wildlife.
There is a grandstand where musicians come and perform (this part is not free). They have a demolition derby as well! Walk a little farther and you will get to the midway where all of the rides and food stands are. I have made it to this fair many times since my childhood and I must say, as an adult, I am still impressed with their ride selections!
So, if youíre in the area next year and are looking for one of the few things left in this world that is both fun and free, I would highly recommend a stroll through the Mighty Howard County Fair. No matter your age, there is always something to learn and experience there. And, if youíre a local I would encourage you to enter some flowers, photographs, or crafts into the fair competition at the Expo Center. Thereís even money to be made at this fair!
If you canít make it to Cresco, Iowa, for their fair I would highly recommend hitting up your local fair and seeing what it has to offer. You may even want to get your family involved in competing or helping out with next yearís events! Happy fairing and try not to be reeled in by too many funnel cakes!