August 23, 2014

Best Fair On The Planet! | Lorain County Fair | Panoramic Portrait

Not to sound too much like John Cougar Mellencamp or anything, but I grew up in a small town in Northern Ohio, about 20 miles from the shores of Lake Erie and just a bit into the corn, wheat, and bean fields lying on the fringe of the Greater Cleveland Area.  I had one such field literally in my back yard as a kid, and every year in the week before school started, this small town of Wellington temporarily closed up its storefronts and moved them one mile away to buildings, tents, and trucks at the Lorain County Fair.

This year was the 169th Lorain County Fair (!!!) and has been held in Wellington since 1941.  When I was a kid growing up there, I just figured that everybody had a fair for a week every summer...furthermore I had no idea that this fair going on in my back yard was even touted as THE best in the entire state by those who have been to lots of them!  (My Youngstown friends in Mahoning County can claim that their fair in Canfield is the largest, but I have yet to hear a vendor or exhibitor say they thought it was better than Lorain's...I have yet to see for myself.)

Now that I have the wherewithal to appreciate what I formerly took for granted, I've gotten my lovely wife—a Cuyahoga County girl—coming down with me each year to enjoy the pure power of the NTPA Tractor Pull (known colloquially as "The Friday Night Spectacular"...which I admit gives me goosebumps) and the chaotic mayhem of the Combine Derby (yes...that's right...those big harvesting machines even have their own demolition derby).  We also love to see the exhibits and animals and to indulge in the plethora of fried food.

So, since the Lorain County Fair is such an awesome piece of my life as well as a quintessential slice of Americana, I thought I would use the grand sign at the main entrance as the backdrop for my very first "little planet" portrait with none other than Becky and I!  Even though I live in the 'burbs of a big town now, it's very cool to go back to my roots each year to see all the people and sights, hear all the sounds, smell all the smells, and taste all the food that make the county fair so awesome for everyone who's grown up with one.  I can't say enough about how amazing a job the fair board does each year at sprinkling in the new while leaving the fair just exactly the same as it's always been since I was a kid—in the midst of this rapidly-changing and unstable world, it's great to know that the place where you came from is still there and thriving!

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