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Fair Question: Grinnell Mutual customers & fans share their favorite fairs & favorite fair memories

Published on: 18:46PM Jun 02, 2015

What makes a great fair? We asked our Facebook fans on the Front Porch to share their fun favorites about their favorite fairs and they delivered. Here is a collection of favorites about state fairs, county fairs, and community festivals.

Food makes a fair fun

A good fair needs good food. The Iowa State Fair may be best known for food-on-a-stick. The Norman County Fair in Ada, Minn., and the Franklin County Fair in Hampton, Iowa, are both known for their ice cream floats.

Others prefer the baking contest to the food booths.

“The baking contest brings out people from young to old who are anxious to see who will be the big winner,” says Shelly Carrico.

Youth exhibits, projects, and auctions

Competition is about more than the best pie. Many fans love to support local youth as they show livestock. Others love the 4-H projects and FFA exhibits that stir memories.

“When I was growing up, the Guernsey County (Ohio) Fair was our family vacation. We spent the week at the fair caring for and showing our 4-H projects,” says Kate Johnson. “This year, my oldest grandson showed a 4-H hog project for the first time at the Noble County Fair. The whole family was excited and cheered him on!”

“It's so neat to relive all those memories,” says Nikki Urhahn about visiting the 4-H exhibit hall. “It’s just as exciting to watch my daughter's eyes light up to see a blue ribbon on her hard work. I love watching the swine, sheep and cattle being paraded around by youngsters half their size. They're proud of their hard work and the SEMO District Fair is where they get to show it off!”

Activities for all ages

Good fairs have fun activities for fairgoers of all ages, too. At the Norman County Fair in Ada, Minn., attendees could tie-dye t-shirts and make a fishing rod from a pop can. Visitors to the Nordic Fest in Decorah, Iowa, participate in traditional crafts. The Great Jones County Fair in Monticello, Iowa, features performances by nationally-known recording artists.

More than food, competition, and fun, perhaps the best thing about a fair is the camaraderie.

“The fair is like a big family reunion,” says Bill Lundy. “Everyone comes and has a great time at an old fashioned fair.”

Visit a local fair

What’s your favorite local fair? Tell us on Facebook at or Twitter @gmrcfrontporch