Memories of county fairs gone by

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 12, 2006

When I was young the fair was a bittersweet time of year because our fair ended on Labor Day and school always started the day after Labor Day. So while we always looked forward to the fair, we hated to see it end because then it meant summer was over and homework began.

I remember getting 50 cents to spend at the fair (we had our 4-H pass so we could get in free) and with that money we could go on one ride, usually the Ferris wheel, and get one snack, usually cotton candy or a candy apple. We would spend a lot of time going through the 4-H buildings and looking at the projects of all the local 4-H clubs. The coliseum had all sorts of business booths.

Our favorite was the BHA Music and Appliance Store booth. If you stood on your head and sang their jingle they would give you a penny. So we would stand in line and take our turn to sing the jingle and get our penny and if you did that 25 times during the day you had enough money to go on another ride or buy something to eat. We would participate in the style review for our 4-H clothing projects and of course there was the high school band competition day.

This was usually on Sunday afternoon and generally the hottest day of the fair, it seemed.

My hat goes off to the Freeborn County Fair Board this year for a fine fair!

I was happy to see that there were many things for the family to do that didn’t cost once you entered the fair.

Besides the animal barns, which most children love, they also had the Clydesdale horses, puppet shows, display of farm machinery in the Heritage building, the grandstand entertainment, free admission to the Freeborn County Historical Museum and Village and the list could go on and on.

We were happy that so many of you took advantage of the opportunity to visit us at the museum and historical village.

We would like to invite you to join us for the annual &8220;Echoes from the Past: A Journey into History&8221; at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16, at Graceland Cemetery. Six local residents will portray the lives of six pioneers from our community and bring their stories to life as you learn about their history.

We will have folding chairs set up, or you may bring your own lawn chair.

Admission will be $5 and will be matched by Thrivent Financial and will help support the museum and its programs.

Refreshments will be served.

Please join us for a delightful evening and a journey back in time.

In Heritage Hall this month we have pictures of our Albert Lea churches, past and present. Please stop in and see our display.

My heart goes out to the family who recently lost a loved one in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, after she became disoriented and lost.

I made the decision to take the driver’s license away from a parent and believe me it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I know it was the right decision, for her and for us as a family. When you are a caregiver or a

loved one, you need to think not only of the safety of your loved one, but of the safety of all those around when that person drives.

How would your loved one feel if they took the life of another because of their inability to think clearly or to reason out their move in an appropriate amount of time?

When you think they might feel trapped or isolated because they can’t drive, it is time you did your homework to see what services are available in your community and how you can help them to cope with their situation.

Sometimes they know or sense that they should not be driving, but don’t want to be a burden.

So it is up to you to help them find ways to live to the best of their ability, with dignity, but most of all to live safely.

This problem is going to continue to grow as our population lives longer and longer and we can’t continue to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that it is not going to affect us, because it does affect us, all of us.

Whether it is your parent, spouse or sibling or possibly those of a co-worker, it will in some way affect you in your life time. We need more facilities like St. John’s Adult Day Service, and services like

RSVP’s ride services, meals on the go, senior companions, caregivers support groups, etc.

There are lots of good resources available, but if we don’t use them, we will lose them and possibly our loved ones too.

Pat Mulso is the executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum.