18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Wednesday, October 1, 1913:
October comes with the colder days.
Dresses the trees in gayest attire.
Garners the harvest in fields far and near
Into great heaps that all may admire.
This is Fair Week but not so the weather. Not going this year, so I won’t take it as hard as some.
Milton Fairgrounds (This picture may have been taken a few years after Grandma wrote this diary entry). Photo source: Milton History. org. Used with permission.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Why aren’t you going to the Milton Fair? You had so much fun last year and even saw an airplane:
Saw a flying machine whirling aloft in the air for at least 10 minutes. I think twas quite a sight to see.
There are so many reasons people attend fairs. Here’s what the October, 1913 issue of Farm Journal said about the purpose of fairs:
The word fair, as now used in America, has lost much of its Old world meaning. In this country the fair, whether we call it a world’s fair or a state fair, a county fair or district fair, is an industrial exhibition. And this is as it should be.
It places the fair on a strictly business basis; it makes of it a practical, helpful thing. Conducted on an industrial, practical line, the fair is designed to help both the farmer and the city resident. It is the common meeting ground of all classes. At the fair the man who produces and the man who buys, the grower and the manufacturer, get together. They learn what each is capable of doing, and ascertain each other’s need.
It is remarkable how much benefit we can get out of the fair when we attend filled with a desire to learn—to gain something worthwhile.
The farmer who is seen “taking notes” at a fair—jotting down the name of this big apple, the weight of that monster pumpkin; who writes down all the information he can get about caring for hogs, poultry raising, feeding; who investigates the new kinds of machinery, and secures all available figures about up-to-date methods—that farmer will make his trip to the fair a valuable thing. He can do this and still have plenty of time to accompany his family to the side show, to take a whirl on the merry-go-round, or throw a ball at the doll babies.
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