County and state fair memories
I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful and blessed Fourth of July.
I hope you took time to attend a parade, enjoy a cookout with the family, go swimming and take an afternoon nap. I love naps!
Now that we have celebrated our many freedoms, it is time to get into fair mode.
The Poweshiek County Fair is a week away and in about five weeks, actually a little sooner, folks will be packing their campers and headed the Iowa State Fair, which is slated for Aug. 11 – 21.
As anyone who has followed me in this column knows, the ISF has a special place in my heart as it was there that I met Debbie in August 2003. I just happened to walk by the Tindle family camper while doing a story on state fair campers from the Montezuma area and there was Debbie.
The story idea was a last minute move on my part. I think there was divine intervention in my decision to attend the fair and do the story that year.
I had visited the campground by mistake my first year at the fair in 1998 when I got on the wrong tram, thinking I was headed to the parking lot. Of course, I didn’t have my hand stamped at the first gate as I thought the tram would eventually get me to the parking lot.
I got to the second campground gate and almost had to pay to get back into the fair so I could leave the fair. Thankfully the ticket seller let me back in so I get back out. I ended up hitching a ride to my vehicle on police golf cart after asking for help.
The next year, 2004, I found myself camping at the fair, and have done so every year since.
Having grown up in Tulsa, I enjoyed the annual 11-day Tulsa State Fair, which kicks of the fourth Thursday after Labor Day. This year’s fair is slated for Sept. 30 – Oct. 10.
I grew up about two miles from the fairgrounds and typically attended the fair with a friend and also with my family. I lived close enough that I could hear the fair in the evening if I opened my bedroom windows.
Back in the day, all Tulsa Public School students received the first Friday of the fair out of school and a free ticket to the fair.
I have lots of great memories of walking the midway with a friend, riding the rides, attending a show, touring the Expo Square, an 8.1 acre column free building on the fairgrounds that first opened in 1966 and was used for oil expansion shows at the time, and just being a kid.
When the fair wasn’t going on, myself and a friend would sometimes ride our bicycles to the fairgrounds and ride through the horse and cattle barns. We’d go in and out of the maze of animal pens and had a blast.
And for years, Bell’s Amusement Park was on the westside of the fairgrounds. The park first opened in 1951 and featured Zingo, the iconic wooden roller coaster, the log ride, the Phantasmagoria, and the Himalayan. There were two miniature golf courses, a Ferris wheel, the wildcat and much more. A visit to Bells was an evening full of fun.
The popular Tulsa attraction, which was owned by the Bell family, lost its lease in 2006 and closed after 55 years. There have been efforts in the years since to bring Bells back, but nothing has developed. Lots of great childhood memories.
I leave you with this. Folks are busy these days running here and running there. There is all kinds of stuff going on in this crazy world to cause worry and concern. My advice, something I need to listen to myself, slow down, take it easy every so often and don’t forget about those dreams.
No matter what is going on in the world, there’s still a place for dreams and a place for peace from above. Today is the day to make a step in a positive direction and see your dreams come to pass. Keep walking and keep believing.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.
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