Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dakota County Fair, 2011

The first Dakota County Fair goes back to 1858, the year Minnesota became a state, and it has been going strong ever since. This year the seven-day event was helped tremendously by the very pleasant weather from Monday, August 7 through Sunday, August 14. Nancy and I displayed and sold our farm heritage books and tee shirts in Dakota Village, an assembly of restored buildings that displays the area's heritage. Buildings range from a train depot to a bank building and are open for the fair-goer to visit and listen to a volunteer in period costume explain and demonstrate the workings of a blacksmith shop or a print shop. It's an interesting place to visit.
The Dakota City Board allows us to rent this building to sell our books about farm heritage during the seven days of the fair. Since our two series of books reflect stories of farm heritage, it is a perfect spot.
The general store was next door to us and open for visitors.
The old Vermillion State Bank, built in 1918, was moved to Dakota City in 1985.
Visiting the bank brings back memories for me because my father and mother banked there.
I remember opening my first savings account here and going in with Dad as he took out loans for expanding farm operations.

The Dakota Drug Store was only half a block from us and it sold hot food, cold drinks, and ice cream.

An attractive and informational pamphlet called "A Fair to Remember" details the 150-year development of the Dakota County Fair from 1858 to 2008. The facts are fascinating and are presented in an interesting story form with photographs. The pamphlet is given away free at most buildings in Dakota Village.
Obviously, Nancy and I are at the fair to sell books, but what makes the seven fair days fun for us is the people who take the time to visit with us. Old friends, neighbors, relatives I've never met, classmates from high school, and people with farm backgrounds from all over the country who compliment us on our efforts to preserve farm heritage. 
The fair has not forgotten its agricultural and small town roots and, I think, that's why so many people come from so far away to visit the livestock barns, the midway, eat the food, visit Dakota Heritage Village, watch the threshing, enjoy the live music, and watch the tractor parade every day at 1:00 PM. 
Starting the straw pile

Singer and songwriter Ben Aaron stopped by to introduce himself to us. He played a few songs and moved on to pay at the Drug Store and the entertainment tent. Ben is a local talent from Farmington.
A fiddler played in from of the depot at Dakota City
The tractor parade is about half an hour long and features tractors of all makes and models. Maynard Ohm, Chairman of the Machinery Men's Club, does a live narration that describes each entry. The parade includes horseless carriages donated to Dakota City.

And I got to sign lots of books, which is my favorite thing to do.
Above is a picture of our first visitors and customers during the fair. On Monday before Dakota City officially opened a visitor stopped by to talk and bought a book.
Notice the free sticker from my book covers on the young man's shirt. To see more photos with children and other visitors, click on Read More below.

Nancy and I attended our building from noon to 9:00 PM on Monday, 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM on Tuesday through Saturday, and 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM on Sunday.
The hours were long but what made the stay worthwhile were all the friendly visitors and the hard-working volunteers at Dakota City. Below is a photo of Carl, one of the many Dakota City Volunteers. Carl displays one of my books that he bought for his granddaughter.

I wish to thank all the people at Dakota City for having me be part of their Heritage Village. It's a fun place to be during the fair. For more pictures of visitors and customers of all ages, click on Read More below.
Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

Lots of children and adults posed for pictures after a purchase or during a visit. If I miss some photos or names, I  apologize, but I want each of you to know that Nancy and I greatly appreciate your visit and hope you see us again next year at the fair or sooner.
A former coworker stops by with his family

This little girl loves the kitty

 Even royalty visits.

 College kids visit too.

 Abby was excited to get a book.

Rylee with her horse and book

 Virgil Throne, a high-school classmate, brought his mother to meet us.

Glenn and Logan are twins.

Family of Glenn and Logan taking pictures of the twins

Nancy posing with friends who visited. From left to right are Katie Stiles, 
Nancy, Tina Stiles, Mike Stiles, and Chris Zweber.

Sara rolling a hoop. 
My father used to roll a hoop don the streets of Elko when he was a child in the 1920s.

 Parade pictures

 The staged shootout between Dakota City volunteers playing law enforcers and bad guys always draws a crowd.

 Nancy and her former coworker  Jim Czech

 Jennifer and Trisha grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota where family members farm. These sisters  are proud of their farm heritage.

As we were packing up to leave on Sunday a friend and former coworker, "Vic" Vickers and his wife Liliya stopped by to say hello. Nancy and I are glad they did.

Hope to see everyone again next year at the fair!

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