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Fair people and memorable moments
Em and Thatcher

GAYS MILLS - The Schendels are fair people. As long as I can remember, this has been true.

I can’t speak for all Dremsas, but Chasca isn’t a fair person. Or he wasn’t before he had a kid. I’m pretty sure watching his son’s glee on the midway in the corn pit, while stealing sips of his vanilla malt-changed his perspective.

One of my earliest memories is riding side-by-side with my brother in on of those little, cheap, strollers. Mom and dad at the wheel pushing their blonde and curly toddlers, only 18 months apart, so often mistaken for twins along the midway. 

I so vividly remember the wet gravel, big mud puddles, and oversized extension cords everywhere that caused our parental driver to expertly tip our stroller back and forth for safe passage.

I often recall this memory, when I am with Thatcher as it makes me wonder what strange little flashes he will recall in 20-something years.

I spent the majority of the first half of my fair-going-years at the Jefferson County Fair and Rock County Fair.

I honestly have far less memories riding on the wild and crazy midway rides, as I do walking through the animal barns.

As a youngster, my brother lived vicariously through any farmer he saw. He was an absolute Ag-Man.

Our neighbor was your classic, nice ol’ farmer guy. He always wore bibbed overalls and a John Deere hat and was quick to amuse and terrify small children with his hand, which had been badly mangled in hay cutting accident.

During the harvest, he would take my brother for rides in his combine while he picked corn and beans in the fields that surrounded our home.

He didn’t milk cows much anymore so getting to go to the County Fairs was about as close to the real deal as my brother got.

Much larger than our humble Crawford County Fair, those we attended in southern Wisconsin would have every kind of cow imaginable, and some you never ever saw before.

Walking through the barn as though he was awarding blue ribbons himself, my brother would inspect the cows from tip to tail- informing us all of the different qualities of the breed.

Occasionally, this would cause him to be shooed off back onto the footpath in the barns by actual judges or our mom.

As he got older, his love for agriculture and the cows at the fair waned a bit. However, when you do catch him at the fair, you can guarantee at least one pass through the cattle barns.

Occasionally as children, we would be in the Readstown area visiting our grandparents during fair time. We made our way to the quaint midway for wristband night and ride to our hearts were content.

However, the first or second year we lived in Crawford County, we experienced a thrill that the fair has never seen before or probably since.

Someone may correct me if I’m wrong, but I am thinking that this was before the new grandstand was built, which caused this fair to be a bit smaller than in the past.

Anyway, there was an enormous wrestling ring set up in the grassy area between the Methodist Church and American Legion food stands, where the corn pit presently stands.

The fair played host to a gaggle of indie ‘rasslers, including the famed 80s grapplers from down under, the Bushwackers.

For some reason, there wasn’t a huge crowd that made it to the event.

However, my wrestling-loving little brother, my uncle Jim, and the wrestling-loving first boyfriend, my Mom, and of course myself were happy to be right in front.

Despite the small crowd that gathered, the Bushwackers gave it their all and came out in full character.

At the time, my brother was a little round dumpling of a kid with a Mohawk. Perhaps the dumpling-esq Bushwackers felt him to be a kindred spirit and ran up to him vigorously rubbing his head for luck and planting a sloppy kiss on top.

“I’m never washing my head ever again!” he proudly exclaimed.

The grandstand at the fair has been a beautiful addition to the grounds, despite the tragic fire that consumed the previous one.

We are lucky that the fair board and Amanda Grswold work so hard to bring quality entertainment to our community.

Although I didn’t make it to the Kentucky Headhunters concert this year, (Thatcher refuses to keep ear muffs on, preventing him from going to any loud events) I could hear the tunes echo over the valley to my little shack in the crack of the hill.

Same with the ever-popular demo derby… As we played in the yard at dusk the loud revs and crashes could be heard across the land. My son also caught this and responded by saying “rooooaaaarrrr, reeeevvvv!” complete with spit-filled sputtering. Which reassured me, I’ll be sitting in the grandstands in a few years enjoying all the things the Fair has to offer.