As exhausting as it may feel, for those who are heavily involved in the county Fair, for most it is a labor of love.
Where else can you see so many of your family, old and new friends, neighbors and acquaintances in one place? It's a time to view exhibits by the young and not so young and to get your fix of those not so healthy but oh-so-tasty fair treats.
The weather during fair week is likely to be hot or wet or very likely both hot and wet; but it is worth it to come together as a community working and contributing to what most of us believe is one of the best county fairs around.
The 2010 County Fair was no exception.
As usual there were reports of some mishaps and disappointments (i.e. when a 4-Her's loved and cared for goat caught and pulled off one of her horns the night she was brought to the fair, or an exhibit got a red ribbon instead of the hoped for blue).
As difficult as these events are at the time, I think they are part of some of life's best (though hardest) lessons. Life isn't always fair, bad things happen and we have to go on and as much as we'd like to we don't always win or get the top prize.
Still, there is so much value in participating, trying our best and learning from our mistakes to improve and make our best even better in the future.
As always, I know that there was much more going on at the fair than I get to observe from the corner where I spend most of my time. It takes huge amounts of time and effort to prepare and put on the fair.
As of the time I'm writing this article, I have not heard of any major accident or injury to any person or animal -- one of the things I always consider to be part of a good fair week.
Things went very well in the Adult Open Class Exhibit Hall, where dozens of volunteers gave hundreds of hours to help make this year another great year at the fair. The exhibits entered in the building were up in many categories and overall. There also seemed to be a larger number of people participating in the hall this year.
There were over 60 brand new rookie exhibitors who entered exhibits in the Adult Open Class hall for their very first time. Photography exhibits alone numbered nearly 400 entries for the second year in a row.
The Bakers' Best Contest and Auction was hugely successful, as was the Purse Auction. Many thanks to all who contributed by entering or purchases any of the entries.
Congratulations to this year's Bakers' Best Champion, Barbara Lawhorn.
If you were out of town or for any other reason were unable to attend the 2010 fair, or if you were at the fair but were working so hard in another area that you didn't get to visit the Adult Open Class exhibit hall, you may have the opportunity to see many of the non-perishable Champion and Reserve Champion exhibits from this year's fair at the Putnam County Museum as they have invited winning exhibitors to have their winning exhibits on display at the museum for a period of time after the fair.
Finally I'd like to close by offering congratulations to the 2010 winner of the "Spirit of the Fair" award -- Maxine Neeley.
The Spirit of the Fair Award is given each year by the Putnam County Extension Homemakers to an individual, business, or organization for outstanding support, participation and enthusiasm in the Adult Open Class Exhibit of the Putnam County Fair.
For more information about participation in the Putnam County Fair or other programs affiliated with the Purdue Extension Service, call 653-8411 or stop in the Putnam County Office of the Purdue Extension Service Office at 209 W. Liberty Street, Rm. 2 in Greencastle in the Courthouse Annex.
Jackie Baumann is with the Putnam County office of Purdue Extension.