The Year the Carnival Didn’t Come to Town
The Tyler County Fair has also fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping throughout the world. Monday, July 27 would have been the start fair week this year. For many, the fair serves as a yearly vacation for many county residents. For others, it’s a week’s worth of hard work spent in the livestock barn. Either way, the Tyler County Fair pulls the community together each year, bringing both young and old to the fairgrounds to celebrate another year of growth.
When news of this year’s cancellation came, many were concerned about the 4-H and FFA members who have spent countless hours and resources raising project animals to auction off during the livestock sale. Creed Ammons raised a market steer and market lamb for the county fair. “The cancellation of the fair prompted the need for a new way for us to sell our show livestock. Tyler FFA and Tyler Co. 4-H are sponsoring a silent auction for our livestock. Individuals and companies will be able to make phone bids for animals,” Creed reports.
He feels the cancellation didn’t affect the end result of his projects. After all, it is important to accept changes and learn to adapt to new circumstances. “I personally believe that the lack of having a fair didn’t affect my experience this year. The overall goal of raising a market animal is to deliver a quality product to a consumer at the end of the project while learning about the animal. The projects also teach us many valuable life lessons. I know many people look forward to showing their animal, but there’s still more to our projects than what the community sees,” Creed says.
Although optimism is important in times like these, it’s hard to deny there are things that will be missed this year. “I think I’ll miss the interactions I had with people at the fair the most. Showing livestock has always been more about the time spent in the fair barn rather than in the ring. I’m looking forward to next year’s fair because it allows the public to see members showing their animals,” Creed says. “It’s very important for us to be able to advocate for the agricultural industry by participating in an activity that we love.”
The Tyler County Fair brings joy to more than those spending the week in the livestock barn. Havannah Lemasters says she will miss the rides and spending time with her friends this week. “Ever since I was little I would always get super excited when fair week came around because I was so excited to ride zero gravity with my friends,” she says.
“I enjoy walking around with my friends and socializing, but one activity I’m really going to miss is karaoke. Every year since I was little I’ve always joined in on the karaoke fun with my friends. But most of all, I’m going to miss making such great memories with my friends and family,” Havannah reports.
Another aspect of the fair that is sure to be missed by all is the fair food. Havannah says she loves to get the french fries in a bucket. “They are always so good and fun to share. Although I like the french fries, I don’t know if anything will ever beat the ice cream at the band booster booth. I’ve always been a sucker for ice cream so I have to get a cone every night I’m there,” she says.
Whether it’s the food, the rides, the livestock barns, or the interaction that attracts the community members to the fair, one thing is for sure: next year will be appreciated in a whole new way as people remember the pandemic and the year Tyler County didn’t have a county fair.