Experiencing the Great Shelby County Fair

By Rachel Hale

The GREAT Shelby County Fair!

When I was a child and teenager those words brought a level of excitement that I almost couldn’t contain. The Fair was a huge part of my life for most of my youth.

My family was involved with 4-H and it was a wonderful experience for all of us! Some of my best memories were of the horse shows, watching my siblings show their horses, and then competing myself when I was old enough.

After a hot day of tending to our projects, we 4-H kids looked forward to “hanging out” with each other and walking around the fair together.

There was always a bit of fun and good-natured rivalry between the horse barn and the steer barn. This usually resulted in at least one or more water fights that week.

My father would always take the show days off of work so he could be there to support me. He would tell me, “go in there and do your best and have fun!”

Then, the best part was after the show when we would walk over to one of the grange halls for some delicious homemade food. You just can’t beat fresh baked pie!

The evening brought the lights of the grandstand and race track. The sounds of horse racing filled the air with the thundering hooves of the horses. The crowds cheers could be heard on the other side of the grounds! If you have never watched a Sulky Race, do yourself a favor and check it out this year.

I will admit that with all the different things to do; the exhibits, vendors and entertainment that was there each day, my favorite part was around midnight.

The fair goers had left, the grounds were “locked down” and only the people who had chosen to camp for the week were around. I liked to sit in the stall with my horse and just soak in the sounds of the fairgrounds at night. It was so peaceful.

Being involved with 4-H taught me many things, including responsibility and hard work. My children weren’t interested in 4-H; they were into sports. It is my hope that my future grandkids might walk a little in my footsteps one day, but only time will tell.

As I look back fondly on those years, it brings a smile to my face. What is your most cherished memory of the Shelby County Fair?

I hope everyone takes the time to visit the Fair this year and make some more memories!

Have a Blessed Day!


By Rachel Hale

The writer is the executive director of the Senior Center of Sidney and Shelby County.

The writer is the executive director of the Senior Center of Sidney and Shelby County.