Archive for Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It’s Leavenworth County Fair time

August 10, 2011

It’s Leavenworth County Fair time through the weekend.

This is the 85th year for our fair, so Kansas was only 65 years old when we had our first fair. That was in 1926 and a bumper crop of corn was the big drawing card. The following year highlighted corn and apples. It was not known as the Leavenworth County Fair at that time and was held in downtown Tonganoxie. The third year it became known as the Leavenworth County Fair.

In 1938 the fair moved from downtown to its current site along Kansas Highway 16. I can remember that year very well as I marched in the parade as a Kansas State Penitentiary inmate from Lansing and my overall pants had a big white stripe down the side of each leg. Someone yelled out at me saying “That redhead was the one that stole my chickens.” I sure gave him a dirty look.

In the year 2000 a tornado hit Tonganoxie and did much damage to the buildings on the fairgrounds. This was just three months before the opening, and the 4-H, FFA, and all the townspeople got together and had it cleaned up and ready for the opening.

We have taken the grandchildren down through the years, and they loved the rabbits and chickens. Ada took in the 4-H building full of handmade clothing and I checked out the art work. One funny thing was when we took our youngest grandsons, Clay and Trevor, then about 5 and 7 years old. We were in the carnival section when we suddenly missed Clay. We looked and looked and when I asked 5-year-old Trevor to help us find his brother, he seriously said, “I don’t remember what he looks like.” That broke us up but then suddenly we found Clay and all was well.

We still make a point of going down now every year, especially to look at the fruits and vegetables and watch the livestock judging contest. We enjoy Senior Day, which this year is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, in the Big Top Tent. It’s great to play bingo and have a free sack lunch. This is sponsored by the Leavenworth County Council on Aging.

Ada and I were both members of the Nine-Mile 4-H Club in the ’40s. I will never forget their motto: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in the world lived by these words?

Gene Young has written a weekly column for the Lansing Current and since 2004.


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