This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The county fair

(This was originally posted on July 15 on

This is county fair week for Jasper County. I biked out and strolled around, and reflected on the many different activities that happen. The county fair means very different things to different people.

A lot of people bring their campers or RVs and stay the nights. I suspect many friendships and little communities form. Here is a picture of some of the trailers at the south end of the fairgrounds. I do not know how many are there--maybe 50?

And there are more just north of the grandstand.

For some kids the fair is all about the carnival rides. There are not very many, but they do have the traditional merry-go-round.

Some of the historic buildings of Jasper County have been moved to near the main entrance, and members of the historical society staff them. There is also a building that houses old tractors. When I came by, there was a demonstration of some old equipment that took the kernels of corn off the cob. I remember seeing old farm equipment when I was a kid because one of my uncles collected old farm equipment. Our fair does not have any of the really old stuff, the steam engines. The sign on this tractor said it was a 1947 Farmall tractor.

The windmill in the background of these two pictures is not old, but it was actually pumping water.

For some people the fair is all about entertainment. Not little demonstrations like the one above, but the evening programs where they have races and demolition derbies and country singers. I have never attended any of these, but based on what I have seen in the morning, I am sure people had fun.

Here is my friend Judy teaching in the old one room schoolhouse. I think she at one time did teach in a one-room schoolhouse.

4-H is big in our area, and the kids in it do lots of things. Some of their exhibits are in this exhibit hall.

You do not have to be in 4-H to exhibit. There is also open class, and at one time I entered various things. But that was many years ago.

The farm kids in 4-H raise animals: chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, cattle, pigs, and sheep. For them this is what the fair is all about, and this is why many of the campers and RVs are there. When I was wandered by, they were judging rabbits and cattle.

I thought this little goat was cute.
Here is part of the sheep barn.This is some kind of chicken, I think.

The horses are on the south end, and there was some kind of competition going on there. I did not wait around to see who won. These competitions are not like some of the schools, where every one wins. Here there is only one winner.

Many local groups raise money with food booths, so for them the fair is about working and earning dollars. And there is a commercial tent that I enjoy because sometimes they give away free stuff, but it was not staffed when I came by.

The county fair is probably the biggest of the yearly events that happen in or near Rensselaer.
(I tried to think of a clever tie to economics, but I came up empty.)

1 comment:

30-year refugee said...

I have a few vague memories of the fair. I do remember attending a race at the track there, but I doubt it was during the fair. I think my dad took me to races there a couple of times during my youth.

I escaped Rensselaer long ago, but have made a few cameos in the years since. On a Thursday night not so long ago I came through town for the first time in more than a decade. I was surprised, as we passed the fairgrounds, to see many lights on throughout the grounds. I thought that was rather odd. There certainly wasn't anything happening on a cold January night to warrant illumination.