Hard-working volunteers make fairs and festivals possible PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 09:04

We are in the heart of summer, at least according to the school calendars, and that means county fairs and festivals are in full swing.

From the Strawberry Festival in Starlight on Memorial Day weekend to the Lanesville Heritage Festival in September, there are always plenty of opportunities for food, seeing old friends and getting a nice sunburn on your skin.

Last week the Washington County and Harrison County fairs took place.

The fairs used to be spread more evenly throughout the summer, but scheduling around holidays and a short-summer school schedule as forced a more condensed schedule.

This weekend the Pekin Fourth of July Festival gets underway.

All of these events got me to thinking about all the people who give up their time to make the events what they are.

Washington Superior Court Judge Frank Newkirk, who emceed the 2017 Miss Washington County Teen Pageant on June 20 read a list of sponsors of the event.

“It took me five minutes to read the list of sponsors,” Newkirk told the crowd, “Just imagine how much time it took for these volunteers to go to these sponsors and ask for their help.”

Becky Deweese is one of those people. With help from other volunteers, she organizes both the queen and the teen pageant.

The same is true of the fair board, I am always amazed by how much time they spend on the hill in Washington County during fair week.

Many take time away from their jobs to volunteer to make the fair and the festivals successful.

The Pekin Community Betterment Organization begins meeting in January to discuss the coming year’s event.

They meet every month and just like with any event, the month or two leading up to the event, planning can become all consuming.

Before working at the newspaper I used to show up at these events, eat a bloomin’ onion, drink a lemonade, walk around and then return home.

I never gave thought to all the people it takes to make the fairs and festivals run.

Many people with one common goal, working on different things at different speeds, and all the pieces falling into place right on time.

As I thought about the fairs and festivals I wanted to come up with a list of my favorite things.

I think number one on the list is the people. It’s nice to see people you haven’t seen in a while. Some of them since the fair last summer.

Next on the list are the kids. I love to see the wide-eyed youngsters waiting in line for a ride on the midway.

The great mix of excitement and fear is easy to see on their faces.

Third on the list has got to be food.

From strawberry shortcake in Starlight to rib-eye sandwiches in Salem, there is plenty to make this diabetic crank up the insulin input.

My wife and I were at the fair recently and she got one thing and I got another so we could share and get more samples for our money.

Then finding a dessert to split pushed it over the top.

Then, I think the barns are next on the list. I grew up in Louisville and even living in Washington County for nearly 18 years, I am still not familiar with farm life.

Seeing the kids put so much time and energy into their animals and then being rewarded for that work with ribbons makes me feel good about the future.

Those are my favorite things, but there are more, I love the sights, the sounds and even the smells (though I could do without some).

I love seeing the young and old love with people holding hands as they stroll the midway.

The yardsticks are a favorite of mine. Not sure why, but I make it a mission at every fair to find out who is passing out yardsticks.

The more I think about all the things I love about the festivals and fairs the more things I come up with to add to the list.

I am sure you have your own list, but as we think about it and enjoy the events, let’s remember those people who sacrificed so much time and energy to make the event happen.

Behind every great festival and fair is a group of people who made it happen. Thanks for the hard work and can’t wait until next year!

What is your favorite part of the fairs and festivals? Let me know at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .