Emo Fair marked end of summer

?This weekend marks the beginning of the end of summer.
As long as I can remember, the Emo Fair always led into going back to school. The fair, with its noisy carnival of rides, spun cotton candy, and food booths, always brought our family to Emo.
It was a must-do occasion, and both my brother and I looked forward to it.
My grandpa and grandma from Neepawa, Man. often would co-ordinate their arrival in Fort Frances with my Uncle Ron and his friends at fair time. They always seemed so much older than me.
They really enjoyed the shooting games, and would leave the fair with armfuls of stuffed animals.
My mother always insisted that the family had to take in the Exhibition Hall to see the quilts, the hand-sewn dresses, the baking, and everything else the building held. We patiently did that knowing our reward at the end of the hour-long visit was a quick stop at the 4-H booth for the best hamburgers and the first corn of the season.
My father then would take over the tour and we would check out Mr. French’s award-winning chickens under the grandstands. Then it was on to the horse barns, the pig barns, and the cattle barns, where Dad seemed to know everyone.
Don and I would climb over all the farm equipment and sit in the high seats of the tractors.
Ken Egan and Cliff Peterson would be hanging around the display of Ford and Mercury cars from Newman’s in Fort Frances. McVey’s Garage would be showing off the latest Chevrolet products while Henry Motors would be showing off the Pontiac and Buick products.
I think the cars interiors must have gotten quite the workout from all the kids jumping into the front seats and pretending to be rolling down the highways with the windows down and air streaming in.
For a youngster, the fair was the biggest and most exciting event in the district. Even today, the fair is that place where if you sit in front of the Exhibition Hall, you’ll most likely meet friends you haven’t seen since last year in the same location.
Dusk would begin to fall; the lights of the Ferris wheel and other rides would illuminate the grounds. The smells of the food booths would hang in the air. The grandstand would begin filling up and the entertainment be warming up.
By then, my parents had decided that we were tiring and the best thing for Don, Linda, and me was to pile into the back seat of the old Oldsmobile and drive home.
Stock car races were not being run at the fair; rather, the sulkies ran in the afternoon. And at sundown, the stands filled to hear great entertainment by country and western stars from across Canada.
We didn’t see the shows. And by the time we reached home, we probably were pretty much asleep in the back seat.
The following week, my mother had us in tow going downtown for new school outfits, colouring pencils, erasers, and other school supplies.
The fair marked the end of school vacation.

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