816 North

August 6, 2014

Been to the fair lately?

Even as the area urbanizes, county fairs remain part of the culture.

More than 40 years later, my first visit to the Missouri State Fair remains vivid in my memory.

That’s what an 880-pound hog will do to your brain.

The thing did nothing but lie there in the straw, snorting now and then. The animal’s heft, and the size of certain body parts, stunned this city slicker.

Summer is high season for fairs, delightful tributes to simpler times and our agrarian roots.

You see 4-H members showing off their animals, young folks competing for pageant-like titles or just about anybody aiming to win a Super Farmer competition that seems far removed from actual farming.

Farmers don’t carry their wives, do they?

If you missed your county fair this year, these pages offer you a chance to experience the phenomenon vicariously. Freelance writer Maria Martin attended three recent fairs, vacuumed up detail and now takes you there. And the photos aren’t to be missed.

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