Just two weeks ago, I passed through the wide-open empty fairground lots while on an evening walk. Anticipation filled my thoughts of how the quiet, barren blocks would soon be changing.
On another part of the grounds, beauty already prevailed as the colorful flowers and plants provided a welcoming touch.
Sure enough. Day by day, action built. Expo equipment and displays started coming in. Carnival trucks arrived beginning their efforts to assemble rides, booths, tables, covers, concession stands. Campers were parked to house fair goers for the week. Local organizations and businesses joined in to set up for bingo, food stands, display areas and more.
Horse trailers appeared for the Sunday horse show. Entry day arrived and 4-Hers and open class participants brought their projects, food, flowers, animals, etc. for judging. Buildings filled up. The open grounds filled up. And then the people came. Entertainers came. Volunteers came. More people came. And more people came.
And indeed, the anticipated city with a population five times the size of Imperial formed once again within those few blocks across the street from my house. Lights, sounds, smells, emotions, talents, children, teenagers, adults, senior citizens, all created an invigorating environment, providing entertainment for all ages.
People connections soar as folks cross paths with those they don’t often see. Old friendships renew. New friendships begin. It was at the Chase County fair that I met my husband.
I took a look back as I left the grounds after the midnight hour Saturday. Moving lights filled the sky. The very next morning, the tall carnival rides had already come down. The packed crowds were gone and others gathered for the antique tractor pull. Trucks had pulled out. No more animals.
Within another day, the entire carnival section was again barren, left only with markings in the grass to confirm it had been occupied. Folks with metal detectors combed the grounds, possibly looking for something specific or for unknown treasures left by the crowd.
Yes, another very successful Chase County Fair is over. More memories were created. Fair board members can feel proud. But they can’t stop now. Planning efforts have already begun for next year.
Not far away from those very grounds, the same type of action is anticipated. Another school year begins. Late nights find quiet streets, empty parking lots and a quiet building. But as the sun comes up, action begins.
Teachers, administrators and other school staff arrive. Buses pull in. Students scram from each bus as others arrive on bicycles, by foot or by car. Playgrounds fill. Noise builds. The bell rings and the school yards become quiet once again while action takes over inside.
Old friendships renew. New friendships begin. Anticipation continues. And so the story goes. Isn’t life a buzz!!
LORI PANKONIN is co-publisher of Johnson Publications newspapers in Imperial, Wauneta and Grant, and part-owner of the Holyoke Enterprise in Holyoke, Colo. E-mail: