Some of us don’t know how good we have it

Dennis Warden

The 71st Gasconade County Fair is now over, and what a fair it was. Sometimes I think the citizens of Gasconade County, myself included, take for granted our fair. 

My wife’s sister and brother in-law from St. James have been coming to Owensville for this fair since before the 80s. He mentioned to me on Friday that folks in other counties don’t know what a good fair is like, if they haven’t been to the Gasconade County Fair.

Look around at some other counties and you will see struggling fairs. I’ve heard from several that the once proud Meramec Community Fair in Sullivan had trouble this year. I hope they get things turned around soon. 

Don’t get me wrong. There are some other good small country fairs around, notably Belle which turned things around this year, keeping a healthy and profitable fair in their community.

There are a couple of reasons that the Gasconade County Fair has remained strong. It’s the dedication and untold amount of hours that the fair board and the volunteers put into it.

Every year there are problems that arise. But when you complain, please take into consideration that it’s a volunteer doing the job. No one is being paid. The volunteers don’t even receive a complimentary ticket to the fair grounds as a reward for their time and labor.

This year “Mother Nature” helped us out. It seems that each year the fair can experience a rain shower or two and one day of decent temperatures. I don’t remember a four-day run for the fair that had better weather than this year. We did have rain on Thursday, but it ended in plenty of time for the parade. This fair should go down in the record books as having the best weather.

Overall I’m sure it was a boring fair for the paramedics — no heat strokes. Just the way they like it.

Each year at the fair our photographers, myself included, look for weather related photos. I was able to get a couple photos of people fanning themselves during the livestock sale. That was it. 

Everyone I have spoken to agreed that this year’s main stage entertainment was two of the best. I have to agree.

As someone who has been backstage taking “meet and greet” photos of the VIP’s before the concert you get a sense of the each entertainer’s personality.

I rate them in two categories. First are the entertainers that treat our county fair like fly-over country. 

They usually put on a great show for the crowd but, in my opinion, they act back stage like they wish they were someplace else with the important people. That category of singers also limits everything. They only want us photographers taking pictures during the first three songs, even though their fans are recording and taking photos on their phones during the whole 90-minute concert. 

The second category of entertainers are down to earth people like you and me. They love their fans and it shows.

The Oak Ridge Boys, being the established stars they are, could have easily fit into the first category. But they surprised us. During the meet and greet they showed a genuine interest in everyone back stage including signing a old 45 record for Amy Estes.

On top of that they remembered that Veronica Jett told them “Momma’s Table” was her favorite song. Before that song they dedicated it to her. It doesn’t get much better.

Scotty McCreery was just as welcoming. With someone who has had several number one hits on the country charts in recent years he could have also been in category one — he wasn’t. My advice to him was to always remain down to earth and relatable to everyday folks.

All of this year’s entertainment was a breath of fresh air.

You always here some complain about the price. To me $35 for a season pass is cheap entertainment. Even if you only go two days, it’s still a bargain. A daily ticket to Six Flags is $68 at the park or $47 on line.

People drive hundreds of miles to come to the Gasconade County Fair each year. Too many in the county won’t drive a few miles to enjoy what this fair has to offer. 

Some of us don’t know how good we have it.