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I went to the Kentucky State Fair on Saturday.
Freddy Farm Bureau was sitting in that same spot on the right side of the main entrance to Freedom Hall where he has talked to kids for more than 50 years. And he still wears size 31 shoes.
You can still get those unbelievably good boneless pork chop sandwiches, corn dogs and funnel cakes just about everywhere you look. In the West Wing, rows and rows of cattle from all over Kentucky and surrounding states were lined up, just as they have been since the current fairgrounds opened in 1956.
In the south wing, you can watch fudge being made. Or you can have your glasses cleaned with what seems like a dozen miracle sprays just before talking to the politicians, up close and personal. State troopers still give junior driver’s licenses to kids at Safetytown.
And, you can still see the latest in, ahem, fashion everywhere you look.
Everything I have come to expect was still at the fair, just as sure as the Oak Ridge Boys singing Elvira.
Strolling through the Pride of the Counties exhibit, I saw a stuffed elk from Knott County, checked out info on the Land Between the Lakes and Calloway County, and I signed up for prize drawings from nearly every point in between.
But I won’t be winning anything from anywhere with a Lawrenceburg address. I didn’t have a chance to register since there was no booth extolling the virtues of visiting Anderson County.
I learned new things about Shelby County, Woodford County, Nelson County and Mercer County. I even talked with an Abraham Lincoln lookalike – he said Anderson County’s Jim Sayre is one of his mentors – in a simple but elegant booth from Washington County.
But I didn’t get an opportunity to talk with Anderson County friends. This year, there was no booth.
The people of Jessamine County were very friendly and Hardin County, my wife’s home, wowed me with a display that incorporated its varied business interests along with Fort Knox.
Anderson County? I think you get the idea.
Spencer County and Franklin County did not have booths, either, but that is not Anderson County’s problem.
It was simply ridiculous that Anderson County, a place that bills itself as a friendly and growing community, was not represented in the county displays at Kentucky State Fair. The fair is kind of a big deal, you know, and just happens to be an 11-day event that draws more people together – usually over 600,000 – than any other event in the state. That is four times more than the number that will attend the Kentucky Derby. It is more than the complete season football attendance at the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville.
With state fair dates known a year or more in advance, the only explanation that can be given is that the people in charge of tourism did not see fit to take the time to promote Anderson County.
There can be no other valid reason for Anderson County to not be represented in the Pride of the Counties.
So please spare us any attempt to give the lame excuses that they are.
Even though I have no idea what the cost of the booth might be, volunteers usually man those areas, meaning it could not have been that much. But getting information to the biggest gathering of people in the state should have been a given, not an option.
There is some cruel irony to the area from which Anderson County is missing at the state fair this week.
Pride of the Counties.
That Anderson County is absent is all that needs to be said.