Believe it or not, summer is winding down. The days are getting shorter, and the mornings have that crisp, cool sensation that means fall is on the way.
The waning days of summer also mean that it’s time to enjoy a favorite summer tradition — the Plumas-Sierra County Fair. The fair gates actually opened this morning. And Friday the annual Railroad Days kicks off in Portola.
It’s time to get out and have some fun.
Many of us have fond memories of the hot August nights of our youth spent at the county fair. It was a chance to cut loose and roam the fairgrounds. We had a couple bucks in our pocket and corndog in our hand as we soaked in the carnival atmosphere that, for some of us, was the highlight of our summer.
It was a chance to catch up with friends — some of them we hadn’t seen since school let out for the summer; others we hadn’t talked to since last summer’s fair. For young and old alike, the fair is a unique social event.
And the event has been part of our culture for a long time. The first informal fairs date back to the Romans, when they were called “holidays.” That was when everyone took a break from work and politics to gather for fun. Often merchants, who traveled for many days, would gather to sell and exchange goods and livestock.
By the Middle Ages, many European communities had dedicated fairgrounds much like we see today. Back then, fairs weren’t necessarily held during the summer. They were often held in conjunction with a significant event, such as the anniversary of a local historical event, or a seasonal event such as a harvest.
But the one common theme through the ages has been … fun! This year’s theme for the Plumas-Sierra County Fair couldn’t be more appropriate: “Fun, family, friends.”
This fair promises to be a good one, with an array of events, displays and entertainment scheduled.
Despite financial troubles the past few years, the fair staff has continued to persevere — putting on an event worthy of its lofty status as the must-see event of the summer. Members of 4-H and FFA groups from all over the county have been working hard to prepare their animals for display. Other residents bring their produce, preserves, handiwork and art to compete and share.
Still, we should not take the fair, or Railroad Days, for granted. Without the support of the community, both of these summer traditions could soon fade away. If you only attend one event this summer, make it one of these. This weekend, spend a day enjoying the fair and the other at Railroad Days. The money we spend enjoying these attractions will help to make sure they are back next year, and for years to come.
The fair and Railroad Days also provide an economic boost to our community. People come from out of town to enjoy these events. Visitors fill our motels, restaurants, shops and campgrounds while they are here.
The fair and Railroad Days are part of our identity in Plumas County. We are fortunate to have them and shouldn’t take them for granted.
Let’s go out and have some fun!