By Lori Pankonin
Once again, our neighborhood grew by thousands of people. Gradually, the empty Chase County Fair grounds filled up. Lights filled the skies. Smells and sounds filled the air. A wide variety of entertainment became options for all ages.
It all happens so fast. The city within a city forms. More beds in our house are full. And then that same bustle of action vanishes. It’s absolutely amazing. And I love it.
Having grown up here and coming from a family where my Dad was extra involved in the fair promotion and happenings, I have a variety of memories from all age viewpoints.
One of my first concert recollections is from 1967 when The Osmond Brothers were here. Yes, they were billed as brothers. Marie Osmond is just six months younger than me and was 8 years old at the time. Although she was a key part of the popular Donny and Marie Show in later years, she just appeared briefly at the show when her brothers prevailed in Chase County. The brothers all had flashy costume performance attire, another change from today’s stars.
What I fondly remember most about the show is when the youngest brother, Jimmy, came on stage as a 4-year-old and won the crowd’s hearts singing “Red Roses for a Blue Lady.” He was absolutely adorable!!
Our family sat way high in the grandstands which was a thrill in itself for this 8-year-old. Afterwards, I remember looking over the back of the grandstand with excited anticipation of going on rides. I just had a flashback of having to wait while my parents talked to people.
Hmmm? Why would they make us wait? Now I’m on the other end of that situation. I’m also on the other end of the riding fun. Another flash back finds me on the tilt-a-whirl, looking out at my parents as they waited for us. Why didn’t they want to ride? Once in awhile we felt we had a bum ride because the cart we were in didn’t spin as much.
Whoa! My granddaughter’s irresistible nudging found me going on a ride with her. The cart not only followed the track like a roller coaster, but it spun as you went. And it spun. And it spun. And it spun. “Stop spinning,” I hollered. “Keep spinning,” Tayvin would holler back with a big smile.
Even going down the big slide is different. I asked my sister to accompany the girls this year as she’s in better shape and I felt yucky from spinning. There was a day when ending up at the bottom of the slide with feet straight out in front wasn’t a big deal. I simply got up. The last time on the slides, I recall having to roll over on all fours. Frankly, I was relieved that I did manage to stand without having to crawl to the fence to pull myself up.
Did I just admit that? My current mission is to stay committed to better health and fitness habits so I can continue to play with my favorite kiddos.
We weren’t in 4-H so Mom made sure we experienced entering baked goods in the open class division. We got ribbons and cash. I’m quite sure all those ribbons are in a box in the basement somewhere. My other mission to eliminate clutter will someday find them getting tossed. Hopefully!
I loved looking at the photography entries this year. Such unique ideas. The talents of quilters is unbelievable! I’ll have to say my favorite entry which earned Grand Champion and Best of Show honors was Elizabeth Tomky’s playhouse. Oh my goodness! This miniature little house with a front porch and all, found me visualizing play time with my granddaughters, our pink spatulas and matching aprons. I wonder how long I’d last on my knees?
Chalk up another year of a super successful Chase County Fair. Many, many thanks to the fair board members who have already started planning for next year. Thanks to the volunteers and to everyone who comes to the fair from near and far so I can enjoy the fantastic people connections while making more memories!
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: