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Reviving memories of the early fall fair




Guest Columnist

You know it’s really the fall season when the weather cools and the Cleveland County Fair is going on.

I had to decline an invitation to the fair on its first opening day because I knew if I went I couldn’t do what I wanted to.

Walking around was my wish. I like to see all the animals and the young people brushing and washing their choice and getting them ready for show.

The exhibit hall has many booths that are worth a close look. Much time is spent getting all the entries ready for show. Cakes, pies, jams and jellies tagged with blue ribbons that judges must have had a tough time deciding which was best.

Many other booths hold displays of fruits, vegetables, seeds, clothing, quilts, photography and all things that are judged winners.

I really enjoy seeing these things that is the best in the show. Now that would have been the first stop of my visit.

But while visiting the fair is among the things that I can’t do anymore, I remember well those long ago fall trips when the entire family was eager for the day-long adventure.

That was when most of us called it the Shelby fair and it arrived in the fall of the year, long about cotton picking time. When the first bale was ready for the cotton gin, there was money for many necessities and a trip to the fair.

The memories of that exciting time are still vivid to me. Trying to decide how to spend your quarter took some time as everything seemed to lure you close.

The rides could not have compared to a wagon trip across the farm, but they had loud music and ringing bells. The smell of hot dogs wafting all over the grounds and the thrill of seeing cotton candy being made kept that coin sweating in your palm.

Loud speakers luring folks into shows was worth listening to, except mother never let us get close enough to hear what it was all about.

Later, I discovered it would not have been worth the quarter that bought you one ride, one hot dog and one bag of cotton candy.

Long ago memories of going to the fair, the zesty smell of hot dogs, the sticky feel of cotton candy on your fingers, and the excitement of being in a moving crowd, can make your rocking chair slow down while you conjure up some more good old days.


Kathryn Yarbro is former managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.

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