Screeching dragons spin out of control while the sounds of children screaming for help bellow; parents chew hot dogs, laughing through it all….yep, the Montgomery County Fair still has some life in her.
For many of us, fairs are the remnants of an era gone by, but not for hundreds of Dayton area residents. The fair is the best time of the year.
‘I have been attending my whole life,’ says Cindy. ‘I’m 63 now, and I can still remember climbing these trees and watching the crowds of people walk through the midway. It was a great fair then, and I think it’s great now.’ One of many returnees, Cindy has fears about what moving the fairgrounds might mean. ‘I would chain myself to a tree if it would keep the fair here. I can still see my grandma and mother walking me to games, animals and great food. Those memories are ones I want to share with my grandkids.’ And they are here, two adorable little girls pointing at the horses on the racetrack. ‘I want to ride a horse today,’ says the littlest. ‘Why? We can ride that instead,’ says her older sister, pointing to a contraption only a child could appreciate. ‘This is the heart of it,’ Cindy adds. ‘They are excited. They want to explore, like I did 60 some years ago! I grew up in Vandalia, but coming downtown for the fair….wow that was big time!’
Cindy is not alone in her love for fair. Corinna, now in her early 70’s said, ‘My favorite memory was my late husband winning me a kewpie doll that was bigger than me. He was so proud, we showed everyone. That was in the day when you could pay 2 cents to play a fair game. He landed a wooden ring on a bottle. Everyone clapped and yelled. Imagine how I felt, I got to carry the prize around…my husband I mean!’ For Corinna, she understands change is necessary. ‘Oh, it’s all changed. This is not the fair I grew up going to, but that’s ok. They still have the animals and ice cream. I love ice cream.’ She says her daughter keeps her coming back. ‘I live in a retirement home, but my daughter, Corrinne comes and gets me every Labor Day weekend. I look forward to hearing the choirs, bands and instruments. Still good.’
For Amber and her family, residents of the city, it’s all about an affordable way to spend time with her kids and hubby. ‘This weather has been perfect. We have had such an amazing time. We’ll be back on Monday because we haven’t had time to see the piggies!’ Her daughter takes a bite of her corn and states, ‘Pigs are nice and give us bacon.’ She takes another bite and watched the ferris wheel in awe.
‘It’s my first time, ever.’ says Christy sitting at a picnic table, covered with the finest of fair food. ‘Belgian waffles, elephant ears. What more do people want?’ Her husband nods in agreement. ‘Dayton should be very proud. The fair is great this year!’
For Jean of “Jean’s Home-Cooking” out of Franklin ‘It has been amazing! Business has been bustling.’ People stand patiently in line for her cabbage rolls and chicken and noodles. ‘There is something different this year, busy, busy, busy!’
She’s right. Nearly every food booth has repeated that sentiment. It may be the nostalgia that is bringing in the crowds. Maybe the fear of losing this island of fun sitting oddly on South Main Street. Or maybe….
‘My favorite part of the whole day is the bird that talks.’ says Brody. He’s 9. ‘His tongue feels weird. He can say “GO UD!” Isn’t that cool?’ Brody laughs and bites into a red, white and blue snow-cone. ‘If they want me to come back next year, this bird better be here.’
For all of these fair attendees, one thing seems clear, it’s all about wonder & fun.
Cindy said it best, ‘Even if you lose at one of the games, you win having your family here to cheer you on! That’s the fair!’
Well, then….Montgomery County Fair…..we are cheering you ON!
The Montgomery County fair at 1043 S. Main St., is open from 8 am. to 10 pm Sunday and 8 am to 8 pm on Labor Day. Admission is $8 per person, age 6 and younger are free with a paying adult.
Use this coupon for $2 OFF on Monday. You must print out this coupon to use.