By: Kristi Roe-Owen | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: August 2016
The official Rogers County Fair 2016 poster is a combination of the rich history and excitement the event brings.
When the nights turn cooler and the air a little crisper, Oklahomans anxiously await autumn decadences such as oversized sweaters, pumpkin spice everything, and holding hands on the midway at the local fair. The Rogers County Fair, established in 1914, is the perfect place to add to your fall bucket list. With its emphasis on traditional arts and agriculture, the event to be held September 15-18 at the Claremore Expo Center is everything a country fair should be.
If the thought of attending an annual fair calls to mind only vertigo-inducing thrill rides, parking lot anxiety, endless booths of mass-produced buyer’s remorse, and regrettable overindulgence, you’ve been missing out on all the goodness of a smaller county fair. While the fair is the largest of its kind in the region, it offers a slower-paced, more traditional fair experience.
The fair is home to a less crowded midway, family events and a focus on local food, agriculture, and artisanship. It is also very affordable, with no parking or admission fees.
Lisa Rogers, Marketing Manager for the Rogers County Fair, explained that the fair presents an opportunity to experience the importance of agriculture firsthand. Visitors will have the chance to connect with food in a way they may not be otherwise able to. Rogers noted that many people never have the opportunity to experience the relationship between farm and table.
Children raised in the city are able to see firsthand the animals that produce their food and experience garden vegetables in new ways.
“What better place for children to experience farm animals than at a county fair?” Rogers mused.
Dairy and beef cows, goats, sheep, chickens, rabbits, horses and pigs are among the barnyard friends to make acquaintance with.
Foodies will appreciate the fair’s many culinary offerings. Among some of the can’t-miss items are gourmet egg rolls and street tacos, the fish tacos being a local favorite.
The fair offers a venue for experiencing and sharing traditional arts.
“Younger generations are seeing a renewed interest in traditional arts and artisanship,” Rogers explained, citing a resurgence in the creation of jams and jellies. “Many people are canning vegetables grown in their own garden or picked up at a local farmer’s market.”
Breadmaking, relishes, salsas, and cakes are among the many food competitions.
Local artisans can submit their creations for competition, a tradition dating back to the early days of the county fair.
Craft-lovers will swoon over the open class home economics competitions, where Rogers says the crafts and sewing projects residing there are like a “living Pinterest board.” 4H, FFA, local schools, stay-at-home-moms and other residents of Rogers County compete for the coveted county fair ribbons. Some of the more pin-worthy categories include scrapbooking, leather craft, recycled furniture, jewelry, and tablescaping.
For anyone with an alternative couture obsession or a super secret cherry pie recipe, all of the fair’s competitions are open to any Rogers County resident. To enter, simply pack up that prized jam and bring it to the Claremore Expo Center on Tuesday, September 13th from 2-7 p.m. Other competitive areas include archery, a dog show, fine art, and even floral arrangement.
Of course, what would a fair be without shopping? Whether you’re a DIY-er or the type of person to throw cash at the computer screen, check out County Square, home to a wide variety of to-die-for vendors peddling unique, artisan items.
Whenever you plan to attend, give yourself plenty of time to check out the competitions, taste the local food, win some prizes on the midway, ride the Sizzler and take lots of photos.
“Ultimately, it’s about making memories with friends and family,” said Rogers.
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