After a two-year absence, the Northern Gila County Fair is returning to the Rim Country this weekend. The fair is a place where people can gather to compete in agricultural, homemaking and leisure-time hobbies, to recognize and encourage excellence, and to visit friends and enjoy themselves in a family atmosphere.
County fairs originated in Europe and were prime social events during the Renaissance period. America's first fair was held in the historic old town of York in 1765, 11 years before the nation was founded. Those early gatherings were reported to have been "the liveliest days of the whole year."
Fairs have traditionally been a public place for educating farmers and homemakers by recognizing those who are most outstanding in their personal efforts. They provide competition, entertainment and enjoyment.
The Northern Gila County Fair provides a showcase for the county's youth. Young people share their interests and development through the various projects they choose for recreation and learning. Self-esteem is important to everyone and the feeling that arises from accomplishing something and being rewarded for those accomplishments is very satisfying.
It's always such a thrill for the exhibitor to rush to the fair and see the award ribbons hanging on the entries. It is an educational and fun experience to see the exhibits, displays and animals.
Quality exhibits from the farm, including all types of livestock and crops, horticulture and floriculture, will be on display. Horse folks young and old will compete in an equestrian show. Classes for English and Western riders -- as well as a driving class and halter classes -- are on the schedule.
From the home, a wide variety of handwork will be represented, including clothing, needlework, baking, canning and fiber arts. For artists, exhibits include painting, sculpture, clay, altered art and photography.
Additionally, this year's fair offers a wide range of special events and displays, such as a petting zoo, a pet costume contest, live musical entertainment, a theater production by Payson High School students, a presentation by the Zane Grey Twirlers and a community talent show.
Demonstrations throughout the fair will inspire an interest in the talents and abilities of people in our unique county. Everybody attending the fair should leave knowing something they did not know before they came.
This weekend, get out and participate in the Northern Gila County Fair. Admire the agricultural and homemaking accomplishments of your friends and neighbors. Meet old friends and make new ones. For a schedule of events, see page 6A in the Sept. 9 issue of the Roundup.