The decline of the county fair
The El Dorado County Fair has come, and gone. It’s turning into the amazing shrinking county fair, and if the trend continues it may just disappear. Why do we have the fair in June? School is out, and they need kids spending money on the rides to make it work. If they wait till late summer, when fairs would normally be held, the kids have already headed back to school.
According the the fairs website, “The purpose of today’s fairs is to promote agricultural and animal husbandry, local resource and industrial promotion, education, entertainment, competition, youth development, and community outreach. Several trends over the years have allowed the fairgrounds to become revenue generating entertainment and exhibition venue that operates on a year round basis.” How can you have a “biggest tomato” or ” best tasting apple pie” or “plumpest chicken” contest, when the first tomato hasn’t even ripened on the vine?
I wish the fair would go back to being what county fairs once where. A place to show off local agricultural wonders, and have some fun. The fair has turned into a carnival, with a smattering of agricultural displays. Let’s hold the fair in the late summer, and emphasize the agricultural side of the show. Since the fair is already struggling, let’s have a make over where the interest in growing your own, and competing with others is the main focus. Sure, the kids will have gone back to school. So what? Hold the fair on the weekend. Give us a place to share and compete with others with real agricultural products. The time is “ripe” to re-emphasize the importance of fresh food, agriculture, and seasonality in our lives by bringing back the county fairs of the past.
About Trey Pitsenberger
Trey is a nurseryman, author, and speaker.