Jul 132011

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.

  11 Responses to “It’s Fair Time!”

Comments (11)
  1. Karen and I were there the day that picture was taken. Greg Sellnow, a columnist for the Rochester Post-Bulletin, did an interview with Dad and wrote up a column about him. It was way cool! Thank you, Sandy, for including Karen’s e-mail in your post today! Yup, that’s our Dad all right, you betcha!

  2. That’s so cool! And yes, that’s Lavern down to the core 🙂

  3. I wish that I could read that article! So glad that you girls were with him that day, I’m sure it was classic Levern. Uffda!!

  4. I wish everyone could enjoy his type of personality!

  5. *Like*

  6. I know you girls really enjoyed that fair when you were young.

  7. Hell yeah!

  8. Do you remember the demolition derbys? For those who haven’t seen one, the cars back into each other until there is only one car left running.One of grandpa’s (Levern) jobs at the fair was to be the flagman. The cars would line up on either side of the front straight away, Grandpa would stand in the middle of the track with a green flag. He would check each side to make sure they were lined up correctly. The car engines reving, the driver’s looking back waiting for the flag. Once he decided everything was set, he would raise the flag in the air, pause, then drop the flag. Then run like hell to the infield. then stand there and watch the mayhem, with his arms crossed. He always loved this.To this day I can still see him doing this.

  9. OMG, do I ever remember that, Kelly! So much fun, and having him work there was also a perk, because we got in for free!

  10. And when we needed to re-energize ourselves, we would go grab a pronto pup and sit in the DFL booth.Oh how I miss the pronto pups. The first year I was with my hubby we went to the AZ state fair. I told him I wanted a pronto pup. He thought I was talking about some sort of exotic food.He had never heard of them before and told me not to be too disappointed if I couldn’t find any. Well it turns out what we call pronto pups back home are corn dogs down here. It was good. but not a good as the ones at that little stand at the Dodge County fair.

  11. OK, now I want a Pronto Pup REALLY BAD!!

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