By Blake Musser
July 11, 2017

The fair is back! When I was growing up, the Stephenson County fair was one of the things I looked forward to the most. It was always a time of great food, fun rides and reconnecting with friends and family.

Each year, my family would gather from all around the county for the fair. I spent hours, and even a few overnights, helping with the animals and enjoying the time I was able to spend with my family.

When my wife and I decided to move back to this community, the fair was a great representation of the charm of Stephenson County. It was the place where you could showcase the best of what you had, meet new and old friends and eat until you popped. A place where you could win a blue ribbon and then go to the grandstand for entertainment.

We were able to bring our kids out to the fair several times this year. Like many, we attended on Thursday for the $5 wristband night, and the kids had a blast getting to ride the kiddie rides. Each day we went, the fairgrounds felt full of people obviously having a good time.

As we walked around the fair, I had the opportunity to talk with many community members. Our conversations usually turned to All In and the work going on within the movement. Almost every person mentioned that they noticed a difference in our sense of community, both at the fair and in general.

As the saying goes, we vote with our feet. When we participate in community events, we give event organizers the financial and moral support to continue expanding, improving and innovating their event. I would encourage anyone wanting to be All In to show your support by attending local events and enjoying the things that Freeport and Stephenson County have to offer.

I would like to give a big thank you to this year’s fair board. An immense amount of hard work and long hours went into reinvigorating the fair. It is clear the attention placed on surveys and community feedback really paid off. From bringing in Gary Allen to making the fair more affordable, the adjustments made by the fair board were appreciated.

In addition, I personally know the return of the rodeo was applauded by my family members who traveled in for the fair. Congratulations on a great foundational year, and I look forward to watching the fair continue to grow in the years to come.

I am sure I can speak for the fair board by extending a BIG thank you to everyone who came out this year to the fair. I hope to see even more of you next year, and I look forward to running into you at many of the other exciting events coming up before then.

Journal Standard article link.