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Sarah Stultz: It’s odd not to be covering the fair this year

Nose for News, By Sarah Stultz

Covering the Freeborn County Fair is one of the busiest weeks of the year for us at the Tribune, so it seems weird this year that we will not be doing so — with the exception of the 4-H Livestock Show, which was approved to still be held at the fairgrounds with several guidelines in place.

From day one of starting at the Tribune, we’ve always joked that no one in the newsroom is allowed to take a vacation the week of the fair because between all of the entertainers, the food, the recognitions, the carnival rides, the fair exhibits and the nightly concerts, there’s a lot to feature.

Add on top of that, because there are more people in town for the all of the events, there is sometimes more crime to cover. One year, there was even a baby born at the fair!

Over the years, I’ve covered everything from a hypnotist show, a Benjamin Franklin impersonator and other historical demonstrations, to pig races, Looney Lutherans, 4-H shows and talent shows, to name a few.

The last few years, we’ve worked with fair staff to taste-test some of the mouth-watering food for sale at some of the vendors, and at least the whole time I have worked here, we have attended each of the concerts for our reviews.

Though fair week makes for some long — and often hot — days, I enjoy being able to go each day and run into people I know. For the most part, people are in a pleasant mood and are happy to be there, and there’s a sense of community that can be felt.

I also enjoy venturing into the various buildings to see all of the talents showcased by residents, whether its canned good, fresh foods, artwork, quilting, flowers, vegetables or several other categories.

Each year after seeing these exhibits, I tell myself that the following year I’m going to submit a few entries, but I have yet to make that a reality. I really should try to make that a goal for next year.

Though I’m sure people in the community have many emotions about canceling the fair this year because of the pandemic, I hope this means next year’s fair will be even more exciting when we get the opportunity to set foot on the fairgrounds again for the Six Best Days of Summer.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.