Take Me to the County Fair: Favorite Books and Memories

County fairs are steeped in tradition, talent and can-do spirit. The experience is well worth sharing with our children. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around the local fair. Some of my favorite children’s books do, too.

ferris wheel

I grew up in rural Tennessee. My county had a longstanding tradition of closing school on Fair Day.  The fun for me didn’t start on Fair Day, though. It started much earlier as I planned my arts and crafts exhibits. My mother faithfully took me to the frame shop to pick out frames and mats for my best pieces. Then, she or my dad would brave the long lines to help me enter each piece. (My dad jokes to this day about having to wait hours behind every farmer in town who would enter a tomato in his name, his wife’s name and his third-cousin-once-removed’s name. Ditto for cucumbers, green beans and other veggies.)

As soon as the judging was complete, we’d rush in to check for ribbons. At the time, the going premium was $3.00 for a blue ribbon. What wealth! (My parents probably just saw deficits from art lessons, frames and mats.) The true value of the competition had nothing to do with money, though. The true value of the competition came from how it inspired me to do my best throughout the year!


My son showing off his third-place ribbon

In addition to competitions I participated in, I also gained a deep appreciation for the agricultural industry that our town was built on. I enjoyed roaming through the animal barns and checking to see who grew the biggest pumpkins. (I secretly – or maybe not so secretly – wished we lived on one of the farms so I, too, could enter my own rabbits and cows.) Each of those tomatoes, cucumbers and beans that had created such long entry lines was valuable as were the farmers who grew them.

Because of my wonderful memories, I’ve been inspired to get my children involved in our County Fair as well. This was their first year entering contests. On entry Saturday, they rose early to bake their hearts out. What exuberance when they were rewarded for their efforts with ribbons! (I’m sure my daughter is thankful for how inflation has raised the blue ribbon premium to a whopping $4.00!) They’re already planning next year’s entries in the baking, photography, fine arts, and needle craft divisions.


My daughter’s prize winning chocolate cake

In addition to going to our local fair, we also enjoy reading about them. Here are a few of my favorite fair books:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – From cover to cover, this book is a heartwarming celebration of friendship and agriculture. The central plot question Will Charlotte spider be able to save Wilbur pig from the butcher block? unfolds at the county fair. Wilbur proves he is more than Some Pig. He is, in fact, Radiant.

Farmer Boy (Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder – The fair makes up only a small part of this book, but what an exciting part it is! Readers sit on pins and needles as they wait to find out if Almanzo’s milk-fed pumpkin can bring home the blue ribbon. The rest of the book is a treat, too!


County Fair (My First Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder – This delightful picture book makes the story of Almanzo and his pumpkin more accessible to young readers although reader’s of any age will delight in this fun tale with its whimsical illustrations.

How has your family enjoyed the fair? What are your favorite fair books? Please share in the comments.

 **This post contains affiliate links to some of my favorite books!

Linking up at: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers AND Literacy Musing Monday, Inspire Me MondayMom 2 Mom, Mama  MomentsManic Mondays,Life of FaithTitus 2sdaysMissional Women,  Wise Woman, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersWorks for me Wednesdays,  Coffee and Conversation,Hearts for HomeMom’s Library, The Mommy Club, Cozy Reading Spot, and Grace and Truth.

About Forever Joyful

I am a devoted wife, mother of three great kids and, most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ. I love long summer days, photography and stealing quiet moments for writing.
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9 Responses to Take Me to the County Fair: Favorite Books and Memories

  1. mother of 3 says:

    Every year I swear to my boys I’ll remember & help them get some stuff entered in our local fair but we have to sign up in advance; something I just never seem to remember in the middle of summer! This post reminded me I forgot once again and just missed the deadline by a mere week. Oh well, we’ll still enjoy going to see the other entrants, eating all the delicious food, and spending time together.


    • Don’t beat yourself up, Busy Parent. Have grace with yourself. Your boys will have a wonderful time and make memories at the fair no matter how they participate. Happy end of summer to you!


  2. Kerry says:

    Hi! I’m just visiting from the Weekly Wrap-up. It looks like the fair was great fun! I need to bake a cake now…


  3. Nita says:

    We also went to the County Fair this year. It was a fun outing. We are heading to the state fair and Renaissance festival these coming weeks. Can’t wait! I’m visiting from weekly wrap up!


  4. Louise says:

    Ah – I didn’t grow up with county fairs, but there are a number of them around in the smaller towns outside our city. I think next summer will be the one where we go try one! The weekends they happened this summer just never seemed to work for us.

    Your fair looks wonderful – I hope you children take many memories from the experiences as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MaryHill says:

    Hi, love the book recommendations. 🙂 Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays.


  6. Ah, the county fair. After your description, I feel we may be from the same neck of the woods. My daughters entered chocolate cupcakes this year and won Best of Show. It was such a thrill for them (and for me, too).


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