Our View: Take a trip to the Nevada County Fair
August 3, 2018
There's a moment at the Nevada County Fair when you first hear the music.
The Ferris wheel looms above and children race past with cotton candy. Their laughter dwindles as they evaporate into the crowd, and that's when the first notes reach your ear.
Closer now, the music comes from a stage. The band is playing a song you last heard in your youth. Memories of a girl you once met at the midway spill quickly into your head.
This deja vu only happens once a year.
The Nevada County Fair will draw thousands of people to the fairgrounds starting Wednesday. People of all ages will crowd into the McCourtney Road grounds, milling around Treat Street and browsing through exhibits.
There's pride in those who raise cows and showcase them. Kids will hop in the straw for a photo with the bovine, given the chance.
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Take a moment to talk with the kids who raised hogs. They'll tell you what it takes to win the competition. Or strike up a conversation with the folks who brought steers to the fair. They're washing them down before the judges stroll by.
Just don't lose track of time. The midway girl won't wait all night.
A path leads you away and toward the Treat Street lights. The smell has called a large crowd, and people line up for the delicacies.
Weave through the lines and you might find a bingo game nearby. Play a few rounds under a cooling sky. You won't find this many trees, or shade, at the state fair.
The fairgrounds' board of directors works hard each year to make this place come alive. If you see a board member, take a moment to thank him or her before the swell of the crowd pushes you along.
And, if you get the chance, ask them about the secrecy surrounding the extended leave of fairgrounds CEO Rea Callender. Running the fairgrounds since mid-2015, Callender is gone and no one wants to say why.
We have arguably the best fair in California, once proclaimed by the Legislature as "California's Most Beautiful Fairgrounds." It deserves better than silence.
It's noise that makes the fair a unique spot on the face of Nevada County. The fairgrounds is noise, and sight and touch. It's a Mary Poppins painting you step into every year, seeing the same friends moving along the same sidewalks, shaking the same hands.
You watch from below as your children fly through the air on the carnival ride. You once sat in their place, as they one day will stand in yours.
Or you're running toward the rodeo to watch your friends stack baled hay as quickly as they can. Afterward everyone grabs shaved ice and races to the next event. You all want to see the Destruction Derby. You only get this one chance.
The Nevada County Fair comes alive Wednesday through Sunday. Buy your tickets at the gate or online. Just make sure you buy them, plan your day at the fairgrounds and go.
There's a reason we brag about our fair above all others. It's the authenticity, the unity, the camaraderie you'll find there. The exhibits, Treat Street, it all combines into a pageant that lasts only a short five days.
Take advantage of the chance you get this coming week to visit the fair.
And if you see the girl by the midway and she offers you her hand, asking to dance:
Our View is the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.