LIMA — An afternoon rain couldn’t dampen spirits at the Allen County Fair on Monday.
With the sheer excitement of it being fair season — plus a solar eclipse on the agenda — fairgoers took full advantage of the experience.
Those with solar eclipse glasses watched the skies and those without watched their kids ride all the rides. Youth Day offered discounts, and there were plenty of families in attendance.
Judy Fugatt, of Perry Township, brought her two small children, 1-year-old Chasity and 2-year-old Millies. They were all smiles and giggles as they “drove” their glittering cars and motorcycles on the rotating ride for the third time in a row.
“I brought ‘em out for that reason, that reason right there,” she said, smiling and waving to them.
Add an elephant ear to the mix and a stop at the petting zoo, and the Fugatt children will be satisfied.
Jessica Roeder, of Lima, echoed Fugatt’s sentiments. She had three little children in tow, and they were excitedly running from ride to ride. Youth Day discounts are a help for the family to be able to attend.
“And, of course, we come for the fair food,” Roeder said.
Sara Dahill, of Lima, was busy taking photos of her three children as two rode one ride and a third rode another.
Two of her children were on 1,001 Nachts, “and I have another one over there on the blueberry,” she said, smiling. “They look forward to it.”
Mason Dahill, a sixth-grader at Elida schools, said 1,001 Nachts is his favorite.
“Because it’s fun. I like going high and fast,” he said.
Does it ever make him a little nervous?
“Sometimes,” he admitted.
Shyanne Dahill, a ninth-grader at Elida, loves the Wipeout. She said it twists and turns and even goes in reverse at one point.
“It’s fun and exciting. I like the backwards part more than the forwards part,” she said, laughing.
Gauge Dahill, a third-grader at Elida, said his favorite is the bumper cars.
“It’s the first year I was allowed to do them,” he said.
Dakota Scarberry, of Lima, is a senior at Perry schools. She and some volleyball friends were busy checking everything out Monday. She said they were working at the Perry schools food tent, a requirement for all student athletes.
But she wasn’t just at the fair because she had to be.
“I’m coming out later,” Scarberry said. “We love the fair. Favorite time of year. Just seeing everybody.”
Her friend Kylee Lance, a Perry freshman who lives in Lima, emphasized the food is key.
“Homemade ice cream or chicken on a stick,” Kylee said, listing her must-haves.
Allen East friends Adrianna Rutherford, of Harrod, and Kenzie Koontz, of Lima, eagerly strode down the midway. The seventh-graders were planning to spend as much time as possible at the fair.
Adrianna camps there with her family, as she shows hogs in the Harrod Lively 4-H club. She raised rabbits this year too, but they weren’t big enough to be shown, she said.
She has shown hogs since she was 8 years old.
“I just really loved it. My mom taught me it was never about the winning” — it was about having fun and learning responsibility.
Is Kenzie in 4-H too?
“I wish,” she said, half complaining her parents won’t let her.
But her sadness quickly disappeared as she listed all of favorite things about the fair, including french fries with vinegar and the opportunity to be around animals or even win them. Her mom, Heather, gives her extra chores to do so she can earn more allowance money to spend at the fair.
“If I come here by myself, I automatically know I’m going to find a friend here,” Kenzie said.
Reach Adrienne McGee Sterrett at 567-242-0510.