Back Around the House II: My favorite Fair memories


The Great Darke County Fair will end Saturday, but the memories of it will stay forever. I don’t know if my favorite Fair memories were from when I was a kid, when my kids were kids, or now with the grandkids.

The most numerous ones are definitely when our kids were young.

First, the kids had to earn money to spend at the Fair by doing special chores at home. We found out they were double dipping. My Mom and Dad also paid them for doing the same chores, but “Grandma and Grandpa pay better than you do,” they informed us. Their Dad pointed out that we provided them with room and board.

One year after the four oldest collected their chore money, two of the youngest asked for their share. The older ones hooted, “You didn’t do any chores!” “Well we stayed out of your way so you could get done!” So a new category of chores was added to the list—staying out of the way.

When we went to the Fair, we always did the rides first while their stomachs were relatively empty.

One year the two youngest boys wanted to ride the little airplanes. I popped the three-year-old into a red plane and walked around to a blue plane for the four-year-old. I looked back at the red plane, and it seemed empty. I hurried back to it to find our son sitting on the floor waiting patiently for the ride to begin. The seat was broken.

I quickly moved him to another red plane. We watched and waved as they swung around the circle one, two, three times. The fourth time he had disappeared again. The fifth time we could barely see the top of his head. No broken seat, he had just decided he liked riding on the floor.

Another year the older ones wanted to ride the “Fun in the Dark” cars. That’s what we called them when I was a kid. You rode around in circles in the dark, and different ghoulish monsters popped up at every bend.

Our six-year-old son was my partner. Every time a new monster would pop up I’d say, “Did you see that?” He’d respond with an enthusiastic yeah! As the car bumped back out of the dark, I looked down to see him sitting there with his hands clamped tightly over his eyes. “Did you see that?” I asked again. Without ever moving his hands he said, “Yeah!”

Bill would take the age-appropriate kids on the Ferris wheel and the Merry Go Round while I watched the ones too young to ride. We’d stand there and wave at the riders as they passed by, turning green, greener, and greenest. At least Bill would, the kids did just fine.

After the rides we always went to the midway with the games. We looked for the ones that guaranteed a prize every times. I think the concessionaires thought he had found financial heaven when our huge family walked up and started plopping down quarters.

The kids usually chose a game that required darts. That was probably because we didn’t let them play with sharp objects at home.

Every year we’d warn the operators to step out of the game before the kids began to throw. Every time they’d just smile confidently at us and tell the kids to start the game. And every year as the darts hit the sides of the tent, the dirt and occasionally the concessionaire, they’d jump out onto the midway with us before more darts flew.

The concessionaires were always most generous with the prizes. They always let the kids choose whichever cheap prize they desired. One year the oldest girl chose a bracelet with her name engraved on it.

When her five-year-old sister finally won, I assured the guy she would want a bracelet too.

He asked her name and she stepped up, gave her full name and announced, “I don’t want that thing. I want a pretty ring.” She was the envy of the neighborhood when she wore that neon purple and green skull and crossbones ring.

My space is gone for this week, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of my Fair memories. So, quickly, before the Fair is over, go and make your own Fair memories to enjoy later.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column first appeared in the Greenville Advocate August 24, 2005.

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By Kathleen Floyd

Back Around the House II

Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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