It is always the article that drives the picture, but in this case it was the picture that drove the article. Between myself and my colleagues, along with countless Meade Countians’ social media posts, it is safe to say that I’ve seen well over a thousand pictures from this year’s Meade County Fair. Though they are all great in their own right, I have yet to find one that sums up this past week’s fair more than this picture taken by Janie Dodson. It perfectly captures what it looks like when stars are born at the Meade County Fair.
In this picture, Quentin and Janie Dodson’s five year old son, Ty, is riding off into the main arena to participate in his first power wheels demolition derby with his sister, Kensley, by his side. As a child, Janie competed in events like lead line pony and the pet show with her dog, Molly. Now, she gets to watch as her son falls in love with the Meade County Fair, competing for his first time in the ring.
This is the beauty—the magic if you will—of the Meade County Fair for so many of us. It is in our blood; it is part of our collective county culture. Throughout the week, former competitors sat back and watched as their children or grandchildren enjoyed their run at competitions. In some cases, parents and children both still competed.
Children, parents and grandparents worked the various booths throughout the week. A mother competed in the Ms. Meade County pageant while her daughter competed in the Miss Meade County pageant. I remember showing livestock with Jamie Barger years ago. This past week, I watched as he competed in the Tuesday night tractor pull and the pedal pull. He then helped guide his children in the livestock show, with his daughter winning Grand Champion in the Beef Show and his son winning first place in his class at the garden tractor pull. This theme was replicated time and time again throughout our eight day fair.
This was always setup to be a special fair. It marked a return to normal, after its cancellation last year. It also marked its centennial—the 100th Meade County Fair. Oh, and it did not disappoint. It would be impossible to find another county fair to come close to what just took place at our fairgrounds in 2021. In those regards, it was one of the greatest shows on Earth.
It feels like an eternity since I saw the amount of smiling young faces as I did walking the grounds each day last week. They ate corn dogs, rode rides, carried balloon animals, heckled wrestlers and fell to the ground laughing in three-legged races gone wrong. They groomed livestock, showed dogs, rode horses, crashed and pulled power wheels and walked the stage in beauty contests. They dripped snow cones, licked their cotton candy fingers and smiled from ear to ear. They had the time of their life, and though some of our legs got tired, they just couldn’t get enough.
My hat is off to the fair board and the army of volunteers that worked tirelessly to ensure that we all had the most enjoyable week most of us have had in a very long time. Whether young, old or somewhere in-between, we all got to enjoy the greatest Meade County Fair ever put on, and this county proved once again why when it comes to county fairs, Meade County truly is second to none.