Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

July 17, 2013

Much more to the fair than the midway

By Alice Woodhull Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — By the time you are reading this, another Decatur County Fair will be heading to the history books real soon.

If you hurry, you can still catch it today and tomorrow.

I thought we were going to have such a nice, cool week for it, but as I am writing this, it has turned hotter than pepper. But I shouldn’t complain, as it is still better than it was last year.

I was somewhat saddened when I read that some people’s favorite part of the fair is the rides. I’ll bet most of them didn’t step foot inside the 4-H buildings, the Farm and Home center, or the animals’ locations. Oh, maybe some of them walked through all the animals, but for most of them it is the rides that catch their attention.

There are countless hours spent, as well as dollars and cents, on getting the exhibits ready. Just think of how many hours it takes to get an animal ready to show.

These kids don’t just take an animal and put it in a pen and then get a halter around its neck and take it to the show ring. They have been walking and talking to the animal for most of the summer getting it ready so that it won’t be scared by all the people walking past. They feed it a special diet so that it will have a shiny coat, or feathers, or fur, depending on the animal. Have you ever watched a 4-H’er wash a calf, a pig, or a chicken? Yes, that is part of it.

Oh, yes, there is manure to scoop too, so it isn’t all pleasant; but these kids know all about the fun things as well as those dirty jobs that go along with it.

Another part of it is the dollars and cents part. These animals don’t come cheap, so it is sometimes quite a financial outlay for the family. And think of the animals that don’t make it to the show ring and die just before the show. That is almost like losing a family member.

But these projects are a family affair, and they take the place of summer vacations for the family. The lessons learned in the animal projects are some that can lead to vocations for a lifetime.

There are a lot of projects that don’t involve animals. It used to be considered a program for country kids, not town kids. But nowadays there are projects for any young person regardless of where they live.

I grew up in the country and took the usual “girls’” projects of cooking and sewing plus some crafts and electric. I can cook, sew, do crafts, and wire electric plugs and some minor electric repairs. I even won a trip to Washington, D.C. and New York with my record in the electric project. I will carry those memories with me for a lifetime.

Another special building for me is the Farm and Home Center. There are a lot of beautiful articles there. We have a very large photography exhibit, and with the cameras available now, it is easy to come up with some very nice pictures. The foods exhibits went in yesterday, but as I write this, it is still in the future.

I’m sure the judges will find some very tasty cakes, pies, cookies, and breads. It will be hard for them to make a decision as to whom to give the ribbons.

Yes, there are a lot of things to see at the fair besides the midway. So go on out and look around and see what Decatur County has been up to.

Now it will be back to the daily grind, and the garden is waiting for me. The beans are wanting to be picked, the corn is about ready, that is, what the raccoons have left is almost ready, the cabbage is bursting, the pickles are growing ever bigger, and the peach trees are bending beneath their bounty. So I can assure you that I won’t be twiddling my thumbs for a few weeks.

MACARONI GARDEN SALAD

2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked

2 medium tomatoes

1 cup chopped seeded cucumber

1 cup chopped red pepper

4 tablespoons minced basil

2 tablespoons minced parsley

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together macaroni, tomatoes cucumber, red pepper, basil, and parsley. Pour dressing over macaroni mixture. Chill before serving.