The best way to experience a county fair is to sit in a crowded show barn and watch 4-H’ers lead their bleating market lambs into a ring, all hoping their well-groomed, well-exercised and properly fed animal comes away with the title of grand champion.
And that’s where I will be tonight, at the Greene County Fair’s 4-H Market Lamb Show. This year, 65 lambs in three weight classes will be judged. Now, how a judge is able to look at 65 lambs, most of which look remarkably alike, except for slight differentials in weight, is beyond me.
But, I am not there to judge. I could not for the life of me select a winner based on criteria such as stature, muscle and finish. One thing I can say, however, lambs are much cuter and smaller than the 37 behemoth steers weighing in excess of 1,000 pounds that were judged last night.
The market steer show does create a tad more excitement and amazement. Imagine a 90-pound girl leading a 1,300-pound steer around a show ring. Sometimes it works; other times it doesn’t and I will leave it at that.
For me, a county fair is about the kids and their animals and the home and garden blue ribbons. There are those, of course, who go for the food, the rides, the monster trucks and demolition derbies. It is this variety that makes county fairs successful. There is always something for everyone.
On Saturday, though, the fair comes to an end, and that somehow harbingers the approaching end to summer, which often begs the question, “What do I look forward to now?” Well, there are plenty of events from now until the first snowflakes fall to satisfy just about anyone’s cravings for something to do and see.
Frankly, late August and the autumn months seem to offer more than any other time of the year. And the variety of what is offered is what makes this time of the year so special.
I think Rain Day in July is so popular because, well, it’s Rain Day. But, Aug. 16 begins the Pennsylvania Bituminous Coal Show in Carmichaels, and for the last 60 years it has become the showcase for the rich cultural heritage of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
I would not be surprised if many people feel this event, perhaps more than any other, provides Greene County with its identity. The bottom line here is that everyone has a week to recover from the fair before the coal show begins. Try to make an appearance and show support for the men and women who work deep under the hills of Greene County.
We can all say goodbye to August with the Art Blast on the Mon in Greensboro and if that’s not of interest, there is the ’50s Fest and Car Cruise Sept. 13 in Waynesburg.
Labor Day may be the unofficial end to summer, but the rest of September is packed full of summer-like events.
October, my favorite month of the year, offers road rallies, a harvest festival and Halloween parades.
Just because swimming pools are closed and schools are back in session doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. It is tiresome to hear kids whine that they have nothing to do. Surprisingly, much complaining is heard even in the summer, when one would expect there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day to do all that the season offers.
Granted, many of the events discussed here might be for those older than teenagers.
But, hey, there are pageants and parades from now until Christmas. So, enjoy the rest of 2014, and no more complaining that there’s nothing to do. That goes for all the moms and dads as well.
Jon Stevens is Greene County bureau chief. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.