Growing up, the end of August not only meant back-to-school season but also county fair time. I wouldn’t describe myself has a country person – cowboy boots, farm animals, plaid shirts, country music and animal manure just don’t cut it for me. But I did grow up having a more rural childhood and can appreciate all the fair has to offer.
My dad was raised on a farm in North Ridgeville and working in the fields and with farm animals were a part of his life. My grandpa used to sell their produce at Cleveland’s Westside Market and my grandma ran their apple orchard, making homemade apple sauce and cider. My mom, on the contrast, grew-up in the bustling town of Lorain, booming with an influx of residents and immigrants eager to be a part of the growing steel industry. Downtown Lorain was home to major department stores and historical theaters and was dubbed the “international city.”
Having parents who grow up in different cultures provided a good blend for my childhood, mixing Girl Scouts, camping, working in the garden and tractor rides with museums, ballets and downtown Cleveland adventures. I have such fond memories of the fair as a child. My older sisters’ were in 4-H and would enter projects every year, while my cousins often had (and still have) a slew of animals entered that we had to see. The fried fair food, concerts and exciting, flashy games and rides where something to look forward to, even if it did mean the close of yet another summer.