HAMBURG — The Erie County Fair train leaves the station, at the end of this week. With that, many local animals will come back to the barn, crafts will go back on the shelf and many residents will give up fried food, for a few days, to detox from those bloomin’ onions, donut burgers and ribbon fries so many of us gobbled, in the name of “just once a year.”
When I was a kid, the end of the fair signified the end of summer. While I hope there are a few warm days left in our future, a few scarlet and bronze leaves at the edges of the trees have not escaped my notice, either.
In just a couple of short weeks, yellow school buses will start appearing around our corners and Christmas decorations will fill the stores. For my part, I’ll keep humming the carrousel song just a little bit longer, in hopes the fair’s festive feeling will stick with us, even as the first class bells ring.
Although the fair takes place in Hamburg, which is outside the Journal’s coverage area, you’ll notice a selection of photos of prizewinning animals, carvings and the like featured in our pages. We also ran a schedule of 4-H and Future Farmers of America events at the fair, for those who wanted to go watch our local children strut their stuff.
That’s because we think there is value in covering the activities of our residents, even when they take place outside of our borders. Our children sometimes attend schools that fall in other jurisdictions or play sports for other leagues, such as the Eden Post 880 our sports section featured, this season. Laws that are made in the Erie or Cattaraugus County legislatures still affect our lives and many of us step outside those invisible town and village lines for a myriad of other reasons. Although those same invisible lines dictate where the Journal’s official area of interest begins and ends, sometimes we like to think outside the box. When an event as big as the fair takes so many of us down the 219 a few miles, we grab our cameras and hop in our cars too, to keep abreast of what matters to you, wherever that may be.
Now that the fairgrounds will lie dormant for another year, I’d like to extend my congratulations to all the winners and thank you to every participant, regardless of whether you sold your prize hog, cleaned up at I-Got-It, ate your weight in Chiavetta’s or went home with a ribbon for that homemade afghan. You all made fair week that much more fun. Yes, even that goat that tried to eat my shirt. Next time, I’ll follow the advice of the goat farmer I met this week and bring him a couple of gumdrops to munch on.