Fall and Fair, a Great Pair

Here in North Texas, Fall is eagerly anticipated yet shy to make its entry. We Texans long to shed our perennial sandals and shorts and huddle around bonfires and bask in the warmth of cozy sweaters and new boots.

This kind of scene is a reality many places, but not around here until November. We Texans must be patient when it comes to seasonal changes.

But no matter what the temperature, the State Fair of Texas opens its gates for three glorious weeks every October. For me, that signals Fall is really here.

When I was a kid, my family made the trip to Dallas just to see Big Tex and have a Fletcher’s Corny Dog while we walked around the exhibits. But the ultimate was the rings. I loved rings. The cheaper, the better for a girl with a limited allowance. My best state fair ring was a smiley face inscribed with my name. Who could resist a treasure like that?

If you know me, you know that of course, I saved the ring. I’m just excited it still fits. What a fashion statement.

That treasure notwithstanding, my best memories of the State Fair of Texas are when I entered my cross-stitch projects. The first one I entered won a blue ribbon. What a thrill!

My great-grandmother’s blue ribbon entries from 1929, and my blue ribbon from 1989

The above photo holds a special place in my heart. The items you see above are a christening gown, a knit sweater set with cap and botties, and a handmade bib, made with love for my father in 1929. She entered the gown in the 1929 county fair and won a blue ribbon. See the dark blue ribbon laying on the bib? That’s her ribbon. Imagine her delight!

In 1989, I took her ribbon, along with the sweet little gown, bib, and sweater set, and entered them in the State Fair of Texas for their nostalgic baby exhibit. Sixty years later, my entry of her baby items garnered a blue ribbon. Full circle moment!

My love of family heirlooms, blue ribbons, needlework, and fairs inspired the novel I’m writing. My heroine wants to enter her beautiful crazy quilt in the county fair and win blue ribbon recognition for her artistry. What is a crazy quilt? Click here to find out!

What about you? Do you have great memories of attending your local fair? Will you go this year? Have you ever entered a fair? I’ve love to hear your story! Leave your answer in the comments.