Saturday, August 14, 2010

Volunteers and Fairgoers at the Dakota County Fair

The Dakota City volunteers at the Dakota County Fair amaze me.  It's hot and humid, and every move a body makes causes discomfort,Yet these workers continue to attend their buildings dressed in costume while retaining ample good humor.
Print shop volunteer Sydney Gunther, 15, working in the Print Shop.

Wayne and his wife selling lemonade.

Carl always stops by to help.

Even the hot fire in the blacksmith shop is attended.

Lots of effort is put into showing the antique tractors. 

Fair attendees are amazing too! As Nancy and I sit in our small building with four fans working to keep us cool, fair goers pop in to say hello. Many stay to talk and some buy books or t-shirts. I'm thinking that these people are tough.They could stay home and remain comfortable, but, instead, they have the spirit to brave the heat, many of them with two or three youngsters running ahead of them.
As father touring Dakota City with three pre-teens explained, "Well, if you miss the fair one year, you can never get that opportunity back."

I'm signing some books for a long-time friend, Darlene Thomas, and her daughter on Tuesday.

Emily Zweber, a neighbor and new friend, reading one of my books to her son on Tuesday.

Jeremiah selected A Farm Country Halloween.

Isabelle got A Farm Country Christmas Eve.

Hailey and Jenna Schmidt on Thursday. 

But there is more...
At the beginning of the fair, my goal was to post a blog every evening after we returned from the fair, but, honestly, the weather and the hours are keeping Nancy and me pretty humble. The heat and humidity are hard enough to handle for one day, but when it never lets up, every day gets harder. Consequently, when we return home after spending over 12 hours in the heat, we are pretty wiped out, and about all we can manage is to unload, eat supper, download pictures, and prepare for the next day.
Lloyd Randall tightening the belt and Gordy Peters preparing the threshing machine for Thursday's threshing demonstration.

However, let me tell you why the events of Thursday perked me up a bit.
It's about 1 PM when I find out that all shows in the Dakota Tent have been moved outside. You see, it's just too hot in the tent for the audience and the musicians. So the musicians perform outside.

Well, that works fine for musicians, but my show requires a projection screen, and the image disappears in the bright outdoors. I understand that we don't want to lose anyone to the heat in that hot tent, so canceling my 5 makes sense to me, but I am a bit down about it.

About 4:25 P.M. I walk to the tent to see if anyone has arrived who may not have received the message of the show being canceled. Sure enough, several people were at the tent waiting. Today is Senior Citizens' Day at the fair so all of these people are older than I am, but, apparently, they still have more stamina than I do. I explain the situation and apologize. They are all really nice about it, but several walk into the tent and assert, "We could've handled this. It really isn't so bad."
I suggest they come back to our building. They follow me back and they mention I should do a short version of my show. No one has ever had to twist my arm to perform, and as I recite the prologue and do a couple other routines, they listen intently and ask a few questions.  I think that these people are pretty tough. Once again I am humbled.

 I perform the bit about why farmers wear bibbed overalls to a few people who came to our booth after I told them my show was canceled.

They ask me when I am scheduled to perform in the tent again and I tell them 11:30 on Saturday.

But the on Thursday night and early Friday morning the storm hits the fairgrounds hard, delivering hard winds and over 5 inches of rain which destroys the Dakota Tent where I was to perform, and the winds drive a tall tent pole through the roof of the nearby Dakota City Drug Store.

When we arrive on Friday morning, workers have collected the pieces and are assessing the damage.

But the workers, volunteers, and fair goers show up, and we continue business as usual.

People visit the blacksmith shop and rest on the bench outside.

Singers rehearse for a bandstand show.

A shootout takes place in front of our building. Not to worry, Folks, it's just show.

But the high point of my day is when longtime-fans Hailey and Jenna Schmidt show up again, this time with their mother, to buy my newest book, A Farm Country Thanksgiving.

I hope you can come to the fair this weekend. Maybe the weather will be cooler, but if it isn't come anyway and enjoy the people and the sights.

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