Romance at the County Fair

Ann H Gabhart One Writer's Journal 14 Comments

County Fair (from Morguefile Free Photos)

County Fair (from Morguefile Free Photos)

Did you ever go to the county fair?

When I was a kid, the county fair was a big deal. No way were we ever going to go to one of those big theme parks and Disney World might as well have been on the moon as far as we were concerned out on the farm. We weren’t going to either place. But when the county fair showed up once a year, sometimes we got to go. After I got old enough – well, I thought I was old enough – I got to go to the fair and walk around with my girlfriends. My best treats were those caramel apples and pink cotton candy. Yum!

And then the boyfriend entered the picture. That led to a not as fun memory as my future husband-to-be wanted to win me a teddy bear at one of those booths. We hadn’t been dating long and I suppose he was trying to impress me. I tried to get him not to stop because I knew the only place most people ever won a prize was at the duck pond. But you did see other girls carrying around big teddy bears. My fellow was determined to win one for me too. The carnival guy running the game realized he had a fish on the line and reeled him in. He turned him loose pretty quick when the money ran out. I didn’t want a teddy bear that much and I remember standing back away from the scene of action while trying to get my boyfriend to leave while he still had money in his pocket. But he was just so sure he could knock over those milk bottles. Some lessons cost you money.

Did you find your sweetheart at the fair?

Fran sort of found her fellow at the fair and sort of found him at church. An interesting combination, but one that worked for Fran. Here’s the romantic summer story she shared with me during my recent book giveaway when I was celebrating the release of The Innocent.

Summer has always been special for me. That is when I realized I knew who I would marry some 57 years ago. I had attended church with him all my life, but in August of 1958 I was at the county fair in Ohio with my aunt and uncle and he was there with friends and he came and asked them if he could take me on rides, and they said sure. I was elated. After all he had graduated and I was a freshman in high school. I always liked him from afar, but always thought he would never look at me since I was just a kid. Well, that was the start of our romance, and we got married in 1961 and had two wonderful sons, and we are still together for as long as the Lord gives us. Thanks for the chance to tell my story. Oh I forgot, when I was in the 6th grade my mother told me one Sunday in church that he was the young man she would pick for me, guess she knew what she was doing. hahaha

Sometimes Mamas do know. I’m sure she was smiling big on your wedding day, Fran.

Would you like to win a book?

My book giveaway is still going on here on One Writer’s Journal. You can enter by leaving a comment. Just tell me if you’ve ever been to a fair and if so, what’s your favorite food there? If you’ve already entered on a previous post, leave a new comment and have an extra entry. On August 1, I’ll pick three winners who will have their choice of one of my books. You must be eighteen to enter. Please leave a way to contact you. Some of you I know. Some of you I don’t. I do appreciate each and everyone one of you who drops by to read my posts here on One Writer’s Journal and who share your stories with me too.


Comments 14

  1. Sharon Altman

    I’ve been going to the Fair since I was old enough to walk. Our fair is in October when the leaves are falling. We’ve had two movies filmed there. Green Grass Of Wyoming & Brubaker. My husband was really good at wining stuffed animals. I also met Hopilong Cassady there & his horse.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      October would be a good time for a fair, Sharon. Here in KY, most of the fairs are in the summertime and it can be really hot, especially at the State Fair in August which is not just a night time event, but has things going on all day.

      I used to watch Hopalong Cassidy a very long time ago. Cowboy shows were big back when I was a kid with Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey, etc.

      Did you keep any of your stuffed animal winnings from the fair?

  2. Britney Adams

    I’ve enjoyed many county fairs and now my children love them, too! We stick to the duck pond and throwing darts at balloons and have won several small stuffed animals with our efforts. πŸ˜‰ Funnel cakes are one of our favorite treats at the fair!

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      I used to love getting to pick a duck at the duck pond, Britney. I never won a big prize though. But it was still fun to imagine I might. Oh those yummy funnel cakes. I can almost see the powdered sugar on your fingers. πŸ™‚

  3. Loretta Shumpert

    Candy apples. Now they don’t seem so good, seems that they take any apple and dunk it in the red cinnamon mixture. I still like them, though, along with the caramel apples. Both, to me, say “fair”.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      A candy apple and a corn dog make me think fair, Loretta. I never liked the red mixture candy apples. I wanted the caramel ones rolled in nuts. I may just have to make plans to go to the State Fair to load up on all these treats. πŸ™‚

  4. Evelyn Hawkins

    My future husband and I met the summer of 52 at the fair and married that Nov. We spent sixty two happy years together. I lost the love of my life Feb. of this year to a stroke. I miss him so much , it’s still hard to talk about without crying. But I know we will be together again some day……. Till then I have all those happy memories.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      So sorry you lost your husband, but you do have those sixty-two years of good memories to comfort you, Evelyn. And what fun that you met at the fair! That was a place to see neighbors and meet people back in the day, wasn’t it?

  5. Susan Fletcher

    My late husband I went to the NC State Fair every year since we met. (28 years) It was always so much fun being together. I treasure our precious memories. Oh, how I miss him! My favorite food was funnel cake, but I always ate so many different, delicious things!

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      I like funnel cakes too, Susan, but I think they’re better if you share them with a couple of other people. So many fun treats at the fair. I always wanted a corn dog too. We used to go to the KY State Fair every year, but have gotten out of the habit now. I do like looking at all the things at the fair. And of course, that food! I just remembered another one I like. That lemon shake-up drink. Yum!

  6. Janet B

    I loved going the the county fair in Laurel, Mississippi when I was growing up. I think I was just as excited about going to the fair as I was about Christmas. Some of the rides seemed scary for me but if my cousin, Nelda, was with me I would usually ride most of them. Once we were on the ferris wheel & got stopped at the top. It wasn’t a planned stop but some mechanical problem came up that they had to fix. We swayed at the top for a little while as we looked down on the grounds below. We were a bit shaky when we got off but not for too long. I can remember the smells that were in the air – the animals, the food & the excitement! My favorite food was the cotton candy & I enjoyed walking around seeing all the people & exhibits as I savored each bite! I usually had a sticky face after finishing the treat but that was all a part of the evening!

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      Sounds like you had a good time at the fair, Janet. Getting stuck on top of the ferris wheel is reason to be a little shaky although I guess it gave you a longer ride and a good view of the whole fair. That’s what I always liked about being up on top the ferris wheel when it was loading and unloading riders. I used to love that cotton candy too. Once when I was in 4-H, we had a refreshment place and I made the cotton candy to sell. I had sticky stuff all over me, but it was sort of fun. I let Jocie write about that once on her blog, Heart of Hollyhill.

  7. Amy Bateman

    Our county fair was never terribly interesting, although I did earn several blue ribbons over the years. We used to make yearly trips to the state fair, though. One year my brother decided he was going to win a teddy bear throwing darts at a numbered grid. My parents tried to talk him out of it and I recall being almost as vocal as they were about what a bad idea it was. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but to get a bear you had to get under a certain number or over a certain number. After a couple of attempts, he won a bear! That was all it took for me to decide to play. I threw all but my last dart and realized I had to get a certain number to win a bear. I had no idea how to aim a dart, so I just threw it and hoped for the best. I was thrilled when it hit the number I needed! My parents were shocked that what was supposed to be a lesson in how rigged those carnival games are ended up with two winners. I loved my “Lucky” bear for many years.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      You and your brother were obviously a lot luckier than my husband, Amy. He wasn’t going to win anything at that booth that night. That’s pretty neat that you got a bear after your brother did.

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