Clare County Review & Marion Press Columns

Pat’s Bits and Pieces: Fun times start this weekend

The 12th annual Lumberjack Festival begins today with loads of events, contests and entertainment that will keep you busy right through Saturday afternoon. It is a great time to take a “step back in time and enjoy some of the fun contests and activities that were big hits a hundred years or more ago. My personal favorite is the “Greased Pig Contest,” but “Chicken Chuckin’” is definitely a very close second.

Sadly, there won’t be any of those slippery little sweeties zooming around while youngsters try and hang on to one this year, but maybe that event will come back next year! Chicken Chuckin is happening Saturday morning at 9:30….

Right after the end of the Lumberjack Festival (the very next day in fact) the 140th Clare County Fair begins in Harrison. What is more fun than an old-fashioned county fair? This year’s fair, which officially begins Monday, will offer a little of everything for the whole family, from harness racing, midway rides, 4-H livestock shows and agricultural exhibits, to grandstand shows and much, much more!

This year features a couple of ‘rootin’, tootin’ rodeos to see with a return of the “Super Kicker Rodeo” on both Sunday and Monday evenings.

I was just a little kid when I fell in love with the fair. My Aunt and Uncle came and got me and took me to a little one in a field just outside Roscommon. I wore an old pair of dancing shoes of my mother’s – I couldn’t bear to part with them. Of course, it wasn’t a very big event – just a few rides, but it seemed like a wonderland to a five-year old who hadn’t even been to school yet. Aunt Ruby laughed about my shoes flopping around while I rode the Merry-Go-Round. They even had a mini roller coaster that didn’t go very fast, so of course I had to ride that too. I even had some cotton candy – what a treat.

That sealed it, and I have loved the sights, smells and thrills of the fair ever since. There’s nothing that compares to it, especially if you are a kid. Even if you aren’t just being there sometimes makes you feel like one.

I love wandering through all of the exhibits and seeing the prize-winning dishes, clothes, antiques and artwork. I like visiting the small animal barns and still like riding the ferris wheel to the very top.

I still have pictures done in sepia tones of Jack and I as a western couple and Lisa and Dani as a couple of dance hall girls.

Cotton Candy, Hot dogs, Elephant Ears covered with sugar and hot French fries sprinkled with vinegar make up some of the exotic “tastes” of the county fair, while the sounds of youngsters on a thrilling ride or laughing their way through a fun house maze are still a big part of traditional summer ‘fun at the fair’ in northern Michigan.

Makes me kind of hungry – must be time for my mid-afternoon snack.

There will be a whole week to enjoy the festivities and when the excitement’s over, the barns emptied, and booths torn down, August will quietly arrive again.

You know what that means – two-thirds of summer is over and school will be starting again before we know it…

In fact school starts in just one more month on August 22nd in Clare and Harrison and on August 21st  with a half-day in Farwell. Summer goes by so fast!

Around home, summer is still in full bloom. The tiger lilies are really great this year. I see them everywhere, in gardens, along the roads, and even have bunches blooming in back of the garage. Everything is lush and green and blooming and although the temperature is right up there where it’s supposed to be in July, the breezes we have been having keep it pretty nice outside.

Of course, the flowers aren’t the only things growing. The weeds keep popping up all over the place. It is a losing battle, so Jack just mows them up with the grass.

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