Simply put, the Allen County Fair is the Daytona 500, Super Bowl and World Series rolled into one for local agriculture.
This week on the east side of Lima you’ll still find the rural charm that has been part of this fair since it began 163 years ago. It will be visible in programs like 4-H and FFA, where area youth are taught how to save, budget and care for a fair animals that are as big as 1,300-pound steers and as cute as 3-pound rabbits.
The club members will display livestock before judges and the public — all the while trying to make handling the animals look easy. The fruits of their labor arrive on sale day when stock is auctioned to the highest bidder. Many youths will use the money for school clothes, cars, and their college funds.
It’s all a tribute to Allen County’s proud and strong rural heritage.
Today, Allen County’s 904 farms boast $110 million in crop sales and another $35 million in sales involving livestock, according to the most recent U.S. Census reports. The principal operator of those farms consist of 815 men and 89 women, with their average age being 58.
That’s quite a footprint, one that’s ever present at the fair.
The fair is also offers you a chance to have one last blast of summer fun.
This year features everything from a demolition derby and harness racing to gospel music and Toby Keith.
Let’s also not forget the food.
They never run out of home-baked pies or freshly-squeezed lemonade at the Allen County Fair.
Nor do they run out of corn dogs, sausage smothered with onions, elephant ears and the most unimaginable things you can think of that can be fried, which include Snicker bars and Twinkies.
Anything delectably evil for your digestion, you’ll find it somewhere on the midway of the Allen County Fair this week.
The fair marks the passage of summer into fall. Not that long ago we were began summer with those famous chicken wings at the St. Gerard Festival. Then we saluted summer at its mid-point with the Star Spangled Spectacular. It ends this week with the Allen County Fair.
If you haven’t been to the Allen County Fair in recent years, you have been missing the fun.