I knew I had to go to the Douglas County Fair after I heard enthusiastic cheers from fellow reporter Celeste Edenloff, a friend from the Douglas County Historical Society and a few others. I’m still new in town; I’ve only lived here for a little over two months. When one of the largest local events of the summer was taking place, I knew I had to go.
I’d never been to a county fair before. Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, I had only been to local town or city festivals and fairs, the Wisconsin State Fair a couple times, but I’d never seen a county fair.
After walking through the fair aisles, I was initially surprised by the size of the land set apart for a four-day event out of a 365-day year. The number of food vendors, musicians, organizations, and animal owners from all over was impressive. I chuckled at the Minnesota foods I saw, specifically Oof-da Tacos.
My first ever fair-food experience: a corn dog from the Wickens' food stand. Now, let me first preface this next statement: I am not a huge fan of corn dogs. Growing up, I would eat them if they were given to me, but I would not typically seek one out myself.
I had a coupon for Wickens, so I figured why not take a stab — or a bite — out of a corn dog.
And it was delicious. The best corn dog I’ve ever had. The cornmeal batter on the outer portion of the dog was what made it so tasty; it was soft, buttery and flavorful. The hot dog wasn’t too mushy or crunchy, either.
Later, I tried a deep fried s’more at the Midwest Concessions stand, which was as greasy and unhealthy as it sounds, but also delicious. It was like eating a deep fried marshmallow with chocolate sauce; it seemed there was no graham cracker. If you’ve had this treat or something similar from the deep fried stand, you know what I’m talking about. It’s food like this that just screams “county fair,” and makes the once-a-year event that much more anticipated.
I took a peek through the various buildings, including the 4-H buildings, the school house and others. I strolled through the animal buildings, petting some horses along the way.
While this is rural Minnesota and it’s common to see farms everywhere, how often can you see this many animals from different owners all in one place? Not often.
The only building I did not look inside was the poultry building, because of — you guessed it — the smell.
Besides all these fun attractions, what most stuck out to me was seeing everyone on cloud nine. It’s that Douglas County Fair feeling that just gets everyone in a good mood. Everyone I spoke to seemed to be having a ball, and I’ve been told that sometimes you’ll only run into certain people at the fair every year. I look forward to seeing who that will be in the coming years.
While this may be a signifier that people of Douglas County need to get out more, it’s safe to say the fair is something we all can enjoy. After going to the fair on Friday and Saturday and having a blast both days, I thought to myself, "This is what makes this area pretty cool." Everyone coming together to throw this huge event takes a lot of time and energy. And I’m very glad Alexandria is lucky enough to be the host.
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“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.