The County Fair

Growing up in Canada, I had never been to a County Fair until I moved to Nebraska. In Vancouver, there is the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) which is an annual event to mark the end of summer. It starts with a parade (always rained) and ended on Labour Day (then we all went back to school the following day). The PNE is a huge event held over 2 weeks and consists of everything a county fair has, but on a much larger scale.

Once in Nebraska it didn’t take long to get used to the ‘scaled down’, slower paced fairs that every county holds each summer. Today the county fair is cause for excitement as traditions are followed and new ones begin. Everyone has their favourite attraction or activity and bringing it all together for a few days is what makes the county fair so special.

Volunteers and fair boards organize a week of fun activities that appeal to all ages. 4H and FFA members work all year to prepare their animals for the annual show, while parents work to make sure everything stays organized in the chaos. The carnival pulls into town and sets up the rides and games, while the local vendors set up their booths. People bring in their jams, vegetables, artwork and quilts for judging.

As a photographer, its my goal to capture the many small stories that make the county fair a big part of rural life.