Happy Pumpkin Spice Latte Season!
Although spring is my favorite season, fall is a close second. Fall is special because there’s change in the air: the leaves start to change colors, the temperature starts getting cooler, and harvest is underway.
For me, fall always began with the Sandwich Fair, held the Wednesday through Sunday after Labor Day every year. As a child, I attended the fair as an elementary school field trip, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the farm animals on exhibition, pressing our noses against the glass of the baked goods on display, and marveling at the needlework and sewing skills needed to make the quilts and blankets. Later in the evening, I returned to the fair with family and friends to ride the carnival rides, play the games, and watch the tractor pulls.
As an adult, I began participating in the fair, submitting photos, arts and crafts, and baked goods. I would exhibit my rabbit, but I’d be a bit disappointed if he didn’t win a blue ribbon, because he’s number one in my book. However, many of my photos, craft projects, and baked goods have won awards. I can proudly say that I make the best biscuits in the county – as well as the best soap and the third-best chocolate chip cookies.
Attending the fair has given me a deep appreciation of all things agricultural. The fair is more than a competition between who can grow the biggest pumpkin or whose livestock is the best. The fair is an example of the community coming together to share in and celebrate agriculture and the harvest.
Sure, you can ride a large Ferris wheel, but you can also stand next to a tractor with wheels so big you can fit inside the giant rim. You can stuff yourself silly eating corn dogs and elephant ears, but you can also learn where your food comes from by viewing cows, pigs, goats, sheep, and poultry. It’s an excellent chance to talk to a farmer about their jobs, their animals, and their everyday lives.
Sadly, Cook County doesn’t have a county fair, but the Cook County Farm Bureau is hosting a Farm Crawl on Saturday, Sept. 17. There are farms right here in Cook County with livestock and barns and lots of opportunities to learn about agriculture.
If you have the chance, visit a fair with family and friends. Bask in the atmosphere and celebrate the joy of growing, raising, and making things to share with others. Dance and sing along at a concert, cheer on your favorite contender during a demolition derby, grab some delicious fried food and a lemonade shakeup, win a stuffed animal at a game, or get dizzy on rides. Just remember to take lots of photos, make happy memories, and have fun!
Katrina J.E. Milton
Director of Ag Literacy
Katrina can be reached via email at [email protected].