County fairs were the major source of summer entertainment throughout my childhood in the 1930-40s era and we went to as many fairs as we could manage on my father’s salary and his gas ration points during World War II. My favorite part of the fair was sitting around the barn before and after the afternoon’s races, listening to all of the “horse talk” going on around me and just sniffing – a horse barn is still my favorite scent in the world. Of course, a barn is always full of flies. My mother used to say that my little sister, who was so anxious to get to the midway and rides, would sit on a folding chair in the barn area and constantly wriggle, scratch, complain, and whine, while every fly in the county landed on her. Meanwhile, I sat very quietly, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells with not one fly near me.
In my childhood, the horses made up 90% of my interest in the fair, so all through my life, I’ve collected anything with a harness horse on it. I have quite a few items in my kitchen:
Although I always loved the horses the most, I was also anxious to see the baking and canning displays, the animals, and the quilts.
My kitchen shelf has a large silver tray on top that was won by my father for a race in 1969, and there are two silver bowls plus a brass tray that I won in pie contests in the 1980s.
All of the family competed and won awards in our county fairs and the Ohio State Fair.
It’s fair time again and although we don’t compete any more, I have a small county fair to enjoy right here in my own kitchen.
Click on pictures to enlarge.