Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Putnam County Fair

10 pounds of sugar
5 pounds of white flour
2 pounds of wheat flour
33 bananas
12 quarts of dried apples
2 carrots, 3 zuchinni, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla
Add approximately 40 hours of measuring, mixing, rolling, baking or frying and you get 231 fried apple pies....44 loaves of banana bread....11 loaves of zuchinni bread and 4 carrot cakes.....and that is just the baking I did. All year long, in my "spare time" I craft kitchen towels, knitted hats and scarves and quilted items to sell.

You see, I belong to a group called FCE (Family, Community, Education). It's kind of an adult version of 4H. I have been busy the last couple weeks baking and volunteering at the "Country Store". For the last 30 years or so, FCE has run "The Country Store" at the Putnam County Fair to raise moneys to fund community service projects... such as school supplies for students and teachers, backpacks for the children of deploying soldiers, layettes for newborns in the hospital maternity ward to wear home and diapers and wipes for the local pregnancy center to name a few.

We begin with 8 hours of cleaning: scrubbing, dusting, sweeping and preparing signs and tables on which to display products. Then for the next fourteen days we open from 9am to noon to accept crafted items or restock baked goods prepared by members of the community. This is an opportunity for people to earn some money selling their crafts and give back to the community at the same time. On weekdays we close for a 2-3 hour break but on weekends we stay open all day and most of the night...several of us spend easily over 100 hours each working in the store to earn a small percentage of sales to fund our service projects.

At 3pm we open our doors to the public and sell our wares.... and we stay open every night until the shows are over and the people go home... even when it's after midnight! Our most popular items are the food... who could go to the fair and not feast on fried apple pies or varieties of fudge, candied apples, cookies, popcorn, cakes, pies, breads, jams and honey! This year we even had fresh fruit popsicles!

There are also plenty of crafts to purchase.... hats and scarves, baby blankets, kitchen towels, birdhouses, dolls, jewelry, hair ribbons and bows, home made soaps and craft books.

Each night the stands fill with spectators for live music, motorcycle races, pagents and the horse shows... Tennessee Walking Horses... I love the way the riders dress up in coattails and hats, but...

these are the funniest horses I have ever seen! The high stepping way they prance around the arena and those big front-foot shoes they wear remind me of the wooden platform heels I wore years ago in high school!

There's also the western style cowboys,

the Mudsling and a BIG favorite is the the demolition derby. Where there's smoke.... there's fire and the crowds gasped in unison when one of the derby cars went up in flames. The driver quickly realized the danger and jumped out of the car to safety as it burst into flames! Then we watched and cheered as the Cookeville Fire Department worked to put out the flames.

During breaks and pauses in the shows spectators visit our store and buy their favorite items to eat or take home.

Then there are the cultural art and baking competitions and ribbons. I won second place for my niece's wedding quilt and third place for the picture of my grandson with his aunt covered in juice after picking and eating his first strawberries!

It's been a long and tiring two weeks of fun and after I take a short break and catch up on my sleep I'll begin planning and working on my crafts and entries for next year's fair!