Fair Week

Sunset on the Fair Grounds, photo credit Kim Brewer

Sunset on the Fair Grounds, photo credit Kim Brewer

This week our community gathered for Owen County’s annual citizen’s convention, also known as the Owen County Fair. We come together to celebrate the work of our young neighbors through their 4-H animals and projects. We take a week to relish both our agricultural past and the bright futures these young people represent. It’s a week of visiting and catching up with folks we may not see through the year but always find when we all join up at the Fair.

We unite on our fairgrounds to celebrate important milestones like Owen County’s 200th birthday which occurs this year. And we give thanks for the great support that allows your Owen County Community Foundation to recognize our 25th anniversary of service to our communities.

Churches, local businesses, county agencies, and service clubs set up their booths to help tell their stories and meet folks to help support their missions. The Fair is full of hearty competitions ranging from kiddie tractor pulls to the full-sized versions by tractor or horse. We wrestle pigs and play volleyball in the mud. There are races in the arena where contestants try to pull away from the field and a demo derby where the contestants try to collide with the field.

The Fair also includes displays in various media offered up by local artists and craftspeople. Every year, perhaps at first to enjoy the air conditioning, I enjoy a short visit with the art and always find submissions that really impress me. The Owen County Garden Club exhibit never disappoints.

The fun activity is enhanced by the midway rides and games that bring back so many fun memories from childhood. I especially enjoy remembering the first time we were allowed to roam the midway without adult supervision usually to learn a quick lesson on money management. I always think back to a dart throw booth that used up all of my allowance money that I had saved for a fun night at the fair in only the first 15 minutes.

All the many aspects of this wonderful event are planned and organized by an amazing group of volunteers who make up the Owen County Fair Association Board and the 4-H Council. These “hardest working volunteers in the county” offer up their boundless energies to make the Owen County Fair a success year after year.

I had a moment to chat with Fair Board president Jeff Hamilton last evening and thank him for all of the work the Board puts into our Fair. Your OCCF also showed our gratitude in a more tangible way by awarding one of our 25 $1,000 grants celebrating our 25th to Jeff prior to the Pig Wrestling event. We’ll do the same for the 4-H Council Friday evening at the 4-H Livestock Auction where we’ll present another $1,000 25th anniversary grant.

The County Fair and the gathering of so many volunteers from so many non-profit groups is a perfect time for your OCCF to celebrate what our local philanthropic and charitable groups and their volunteers bring to our community. These are the groups that your OCCF works hard to support because we recognize the important gifts these groups add to work done by our local government and business community.

And why wouldn’t we celebrate, there are milkshakes, corn dogs, lemon shakeups, and much more to add to the enjoyment of this important gathering. So if you didn’t make it this year, put the Owen County Fair on your schedule for July of 2020. You’ll find something to enjoy.

Your Owen County Community Foundation is committed to helping our Owen County communities become better places to live, grow, and work. We value our children and want to help them succeed and be safe.

If you would like to know more about how you can work with this local charity to help Owen County, give me a call at 812-829-1725, email me at mark@owencountycf.org, visit us online at owencountycf.org, or stop by and visit us in person at our office on the south side of the Courthouse Square in Spencer. We are at 60 E. Market Street.

And remember, we have a match offer going on right now where every dollar you gift to an unrestricted fund, a fund that is for the general benefit of the community, will be matched with two dollars from Lilly Endowment Inc. You give $1, we get $2 more. Nice. Call for details.

Special Community Follow-up: Congratulations to the Owen County Bicentennial Committee and Cook Medical for a wildly successful fireworks display last Friday. This was another great example of community cooperation. The show and the gathering of the crowd, estimated at 2,500, was a great way to celebrate Owen County’s 200th birthday.

Clean up was handled so well at each location that when the cleanup crew arrived for work there was really not much to do. It was actually kind of fun picking up the fireworks detritus from Carter Bell’s wonderful show. Picking up the little wire leads to the explosives reminded me of the ads we grew up with warning kids not to play with blasting caps if you found them. Here I was all grown up and walking through a field full of blasting caps. Although it was completely safe, I preferred to think of myself as a guy with the middle name of “danger” while doing the cleanup.

Have a great weekend!