Be sure to take in fair

It is either the 115th or the 116th annual Rainy River Valley Agriculture Society fair. It is unclear if the fair began in 1900 or 1901.
The fair continues to be a tradition in the Rainy River District. Back then, Emo boomed at fair time as it does today.
When it began, farmers brought the very best of their animals to show and create future selling opportunities for breeding stock.
Homemakers put on display the very best of their needlework in dresses and quilts. The very best in baking was on display.
Implement dealers found the centrally-located fair offered the best opportunity to show the latest in technology and equipment to making farming more profitable.
Back then, a large farm might have 30 beef or dairy animals. Sheep, hogs, goats and poultry were judged.
In front of the Exhibition Hall, if you sat and waited you were likely to meet all your friends from across the district, some of whom you hadn’t seen since the last fair.
It wasn’t until the late 1940s that the carnival arrived with all of its rides and attractions. Along with the midway with its major and kiddie rides were the midway games where you could test your skills.
For over two decades, the big show in the evening was the entertainment in front of the grandstand.
Now much remains the same. Needlepoint and sewing are still big attractions in the exhibition hall as is baking.
There are two full days of livestock judging. On Friday, the Beef and Dairy Show takes place between the grandstand and the 4-H barn, reminiscent of similar competitions 75 or 80 years ago.
On Saturday, the 4-H Beef and Dairy Clubs will be competing for ribbons.
On Thursday evening, the young drivers will be roaring around the track driving their go-karts in front of the grandstands. On Friday and Saturday nights, the roar of the big engine stock cars will be heard throughout the region.
At one time, horse owners brought their Standard Breeds to the fair for sulky racing in the evenings.
It remains a time of the year when the district meets to share stories and encourage the next generation to discover the merry-go-rounds, the Ferris wheel, and the other rides that come to Emo. A stop at the 4-H booth for a hamburger and the milk shake shack for the best milk shakes and other carnival foods remains as popular as ever.
For over 100 years, the fair has been a great family activity with something for everyone. Take in the fair this weekend.
Unfortunately, the fair also reminds us that the days are shortening and the summer is coming to an end.

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