7 Top Steele County Fair Memories
This is a list that really can't be limited to seven things. The Steele County Free Fair offers so many fun events and memorable happenings each year. Here in 2020 there is no fair. Although fair manager Scott Kozelka spoke of the smiles on the faces of the 4-H members who were able to show their projects in person while he was making an appearance on AM 1390 KRFO Monday morning of what would have been fair week.
I have really grown to look forward to the 4-H interviews each year. I don't know much about farm animals, but everything I have learned is from kids in 4-H. They all seem to really enjoy hanging out together and the interviews turn out much better when I have gone to meet them 'on their turf.'
A most prominent family memory could have turned much worse than it did. My son got lost at the fair when he was about five or six. He went wandering on his own into the animal barns. My daughter and I dashed around and finally located him. He didn't even know he was lost.
Many people want to talk about the Huskies football team each year at the fair. Owatonna has had a big run of success with three state titles over the last decade. Fair Square Park fills with parents and fans on the final night of the fair for the new year's team introduction from coach Jeff Williams. In 2020 not only is the fair cancelled, but the high school football season is pushed back to spring.
I can't go much longer without mentioning the food. Over 100 food stands are scattered about the fairgrounds with every combination of foods and batter and deep frying that you can imagine. In 2020 the fair is hosting a Food Fest Trail Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22 from 11 am to 8 pm and Sunday, August 23 from 11 am to 6 pm.
I'm going to miss the silly on-air contests we hold each year through AM 1390 KRFO. The watermelon seed spitting contest. Though, truth be told, it's getting harder every year to find watermelons with seeds. Ladies nail driving is still a hoot and I've yet to witness an injury.
As I have gotten into running more the last few years, I have looked forward to the Rotary Club's STRIVE Run. It's a nice 5K workout, an effective fundraiser, and a great way to rationalize eating fair food the rest of the day.
The Steele County Fair is also good for some one-of-a-kind appearances. Oscar Meyer Weinermobile one year. Celebrity look-a-likes another year. Vikings' cheerleaders occasionally. And Goldy Gopher sometimes (maybe looking for another player for the football team).