The importance of the Seneca County Fair

One day.

That’s all it took for me upon moving here to realize the significance of the Seneca County Fair.

When talking to staff about life in this area, one theme kept emerging — “the fair is the biggest event of the season.”

So for two months, I’ve done what the natives do — wait excitedly for the fair. My family and I have been to fairs before, as the county I previously lived in would also be classified as “rural.” But the agriculture lifestyle in this area simply makes the Seneca County Fair a little bit bigger and a little bit better.

To get me ready for the festivities, I had our team pose a question on Facebook: “What do you love about the fair?”

I thought the responses provided a nice snapshot as to why the Seneca County Fair holds a special place in so many peoples’ hearts. A sampling of the comments:

“Seeing friends and neighbors, young and young at heart.”

“I met my husband 32 years ago at the Seneca County Fair. Our first kiss was by the bunny barns.”

“My kids! Watching my kids show and take care of their animals.”

“4H and watching the kids learn new skills, build confidence and care for animals.”

“Funnel cakes and just being around amazing people!”

“Cheer competition!”

“Stop and visit with fire and EMS donating their time.”

“The friendships that are made by the 4-H kids. Some last a lifetime. Myself and two of my friends just spent Sunday on Kelley’s Island, where we attended 4-H camp 35-plus years ago.”

“The animals! The demo derby, the pulls…and the food!”

“The demo derby!”

My wife and girls got to the fair first, spending part of a day checking out its hustle and bustle on Tuesday. After questioning my three favorite interview subjects ever, here is what they said as to what they enjoyed:

Betsy: “Going on an adventure in our new city.”

Isabelle, 9: “The vendors.”

Juliet, 5: “That we got to do a lot of fun things. I liked the rides.”

As for me, I spent a couple of days working the Advertiser-Tribune table, talking to readers, soaking in the nice days and enjoying the sights and sounds of something that is uniquely ours. On the way to and the way back from my shift, I ambled around the Fairgrounds, soaking it all in. The easygoing spirit of a carefree day coupled with the hardworking coordination of the fair activities created a stark and neat juxtaposition for me. It was neat to see so many families enjoying themselves, young and old either reliving a past experience or making a memory for the first time. Plus the weather was plain perfect after the recent steamy stretch.

As this column is printed, the fair is nearing its completion, another rendition of a time-honored tradition soon in the books.

The summer marches on, as this week in late July seems to sound a siren to all that school, routine and all that accompanies it, are not far away.

An enjoyable and rewarding week, one that is so special to so many people here, is what this late July fair brings each year. I’m glad I got to experience it.

Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune. He can be reached at jspeer@advertiser-tribune.com.