It’s the opening day of the fair in my home town. The 154th Annual Dodge County Fair, to be exact. I would have forgotten completely about it, but thanks to my cousin appearing in my “in” box, memories started flooding back to me.
I loved our local fair growing up. The rides, the food, the cheap prizes from the games. And who could forget the stock car races?
If you’ve never heard of or been to a stock car race, you haven’t truly lived. Loud cars racing around the track on a Sunday evening, the dirt flying everywhere, the unfortunate “fender benders” that would occur on the straightaways, the occasional car flipping over from trying to take the turn too fast.
And when I turned the ripe old age of 13, I got the opportunity to work the concession stands at the races. This was like hitting the big-time in my area, because only the popular girls got these kinds of jobs and they had the chance to meet all the cute guys. Unfortunately, I wasn’t popular and I didn’t meet any cute guys. But I had fun.
OK, back to the topic at hand: the fair (in case you got side-tracked with your own trip down memory lane or even segued to your favorite NASCAR moments from the mention of stock car races).
The email wasn’t a “save-the-date” for the fair, but a reminder of how much her Dad, Levern Larson, contributed to the fair each year (as did her Mom, Wava). It reads:
At 154 years, the Dodge County Fair in Kasson is the oldest county fair in Minnesota. Our dad attended the fair for 85 consecutive years, from 1925 when he was six years old through last summer’s fair at the age of 91.
Dad served on the Dodge County Fair Board for 45 years. When he retired from the board a few years ago, they named him an “Honorary Board Member” so they could continue to get his input in the running of the fair and so they could include Dad and Mom in their social activities.
Last year, the fair board created a Hall of Fame to honor those people who had been so instrumental in making the fair such a huge success for so many years, and Dad was named as their first inductee.
The Dodge County Fair Board has chosen to honor our dad and mom by dedicating this year’s fair to their memory.
I am sure they are smiling down from heaven.
I was so touched by this email and happy that she wanted to share this with her cousins, that I just had to write about it. And since I didn’t have any pictures that were suitable for this post, I again turned to Google in hopes of providing something. And lo and behold, I came across a photo that had made it into one of the local papers from down that way.
In that June 21, 2009, edition, the caption reads: “Levern Larson, of Kasson, attended the Dodge County Fair for the 84th consecutive year.” What a handsome man! Just looking at this photo with Levern standing next to the tractor, seeing the smile that he has on his face, I get the feeling that he had just got done regaling the reporter with some story about the “old” days and what that machine could do.
I’m glad that the community is honoring him and his wife with such an honor this year. It is much deserved.
But I’m sure that he’d shake his head and say, “Well, if you really want to, but it’s not necessary.”
Yeah, he was that kind of guy.