I’ve been going to the Great Indiana State Fair since 1977 – my first year of 4-H. Once social media became a “thing,” I’d post non-stop during the 17 best days of summer. My State Fair Horse and Pony Grand Champion banner from 1987 hangs in my basement. Those who know me well sent sympathy notes when the news broke about this year’s fair being cancelled. Yes, I am an Indiana State Fair fanatic, and I am beyond sad that the world’s circumstances have caused this year’s fair not to happen. Fortunately, I “found” my Fair this past week.
As part of the Indiana team planning the American Soybean Association’s 100th Anniversary, I was blessed to be part of something that helped me realize why I love the State Fair so much. I was outside on a beautiful summer day. There were antique tractors. We looked at soybeans. Yummy ice cream was on the menu. I drove a golf cart! Farmers swapped stories about their crops. The Governor talked about agriculture. Topping the list was that I got to see people. Yes, it was at a social distance and with masks on, but I was in the same zip code as people who make up the heartbeat of Indiana agriculture.
My heart filled quickly as I ran into an old college friend and chatted with colleagues with whom I’ve served on boards who asked about my kids by name. Former co-workers and I swapped stories and laughs. All of these elements made me realize what great fortune I’ve had to create a shared history with wonderful people. I “found my fair” by fully appreciating the moment. Having a day filled with so many familiar and wonderful things – even the sore feet! – helped recharge my batteries for better days to come. I hope you can find your “fair’ – whatever it may be that makes you smile and rejuvenate – in some way as we all continue moving and looking forward.