Thinking about county fairs conjures up many different images. For small children it’s the fun of kiddie rides, cotton candy, and the petting zoo.
As a teen, it meant hopping on some of the faster pace carnival rides with friends or a special guy who you hoped would later win you a big stuffed animal, although mine never did.
Our daughters were part of a local 4-H club. This offered the incentive of earning ribbons for the projects they’d poured many hours into completing, and maybe a Champion ribbon, which entitled them to exhibit their project at the State Fair.
The fair is not nearly so exciting for adults. I enjoy viewing the hand-made crafts and other exhibits while I munch on kettle corn or mini donuts. It’s also a place to chat with people you may not see regularly. I still enjoy seeing the animals and “talking” to them. I blame my mother for this habit. She loved to copy their sounds to see if they would respond. This year I was in the poultry barn with my sister and we both simultaneously leaned over to cluck at the chickens.
The fair took on an added dimension this year. Our church sponsored a booth to promote a Fall Festival of music and a meal in October, to make others aware of our new location, and to acquaint interested individuals with our beliefs.
We set up a digital slide show of our summer VBS/Day Camp; this included photos of the inside and outside of our church. Since it’s a newer building of a unique construction, we showed different stages of the building process. Many men stopped to view these, and my husband was quick to talk with them about it.
Children could pick out a small prize to take along with them—a shiny plastic cross proved to be a favorite. Adults had the opportunity to win a Bible, a framed picture, or two tickets to the Fall Festival. One woman told us she was looking for a church to baptize her child; that information was related to our pastor.
While I was there, a young girl stopped to look at our small prizes. Thinking she was a bit old for what we had left, I asked if she had a younger brother who’d like one of our frog tattoos. She said, “No, not anymore. He died.” Gulp! We talked about that for a few minutes and I asked if her family attended church. She said, “We’re trying to, but my mother starts crying and we have to leave.” I told her about a friend of mine who had the same problem after her husband died, and said I hoped it would get better for her family as it did for my friend after awhile. Her sadness tugged at my heart, and I’ve been praying for her and her family, as well as others I met at the fair.
Even though the weather was hot and humid, and the hours got long, we are confident that God will bless our efforts for the “seed that was sown” that week. And I have a new memory to add to my mental pictures of the county fair.