Tuesday, September 07, 2010

7 SEP 10: Just to Be Fair

Having grown up in the Plains States, I'm stunned by the relative lack of old-fashioned county fairs in this part of the country. How else are grade-school students supposed to win blue ribbons for watercolor painting? Or grandmothers, for baking the best apple pie? And how else are you supposed to pick up the latest literature from the John Birch Society?

One local fair came out of a long hibernation Monday. The Labor Day fair returned to the grounds of the old Russell County courthouse in Seale. And due to the recent widening of U.S. 431, that means a crowd of people finally returned to the courthouse as well.

If you only moved to the Columbus area recently, you may not know about the Seale fair. In fact, you might have read the phrase "Seale fair" and thought it referred to Heidi Klum and her children....

But anyway: the Labor Day tradition in Seale faded away 11 years ago. Members of the Russell County Historic Commission explained Monday older members weren't up to keeping it going. And let's be honest -- when you get up in years, all sorts of things become fair-ly difficult.

It apparently took the addition of new blood to the Russell County Historic Commission to bring the fair back to life. Commission member Larry Laney told WTVM Monday's event featured everything from funnel cakes and children's slides to 15 antique cars. Since Laney also is the Russell County School Board President, I thought he also might display antique superintendents.

The Russell County Historic Commission oversees the Labor Day fair because it's a fund-raising event for the old Seale courthouse. This year's goal was to raise $100,000, to install an elevator. But I thought this was a "historic" courthouse. You don't hear anyone demanding wheelchair ramps for the buildings at Westville.

Larry Laney says a new elevator will make things easier for visitors to the old Russell County courthouse. But how many visitors does it have anymore? It used to stand along U.S. 431, but the widening project moved the highway well to the west. Tourists have to seek out the Seale courthouse now - and I suspect Fort Mitchell is more likely to have gift shops open first.

(Besides, what does the Historic Commission plan to do about Russell County's other old courthouse? You know - the one atop the hill in downtown Phenix City, which had leaky roofs for months.)

If you missed Monday's fair in Seale, tickets go on sale today for the biggest one in this area. The Greater Columbus Fair opens in South Commons two weeks from tonight. And remember: this year, it will NOT be in HD - as in hot dogs from the Exchange Club.

Did you know there's a "Miss Greater Columbus Fair?" Somehow I missed that beauty queen all these years - along with the "Little Miss" competition for children. They'll have a pageant to fill those titles during the fair this year. Men will have to settle for impressing their sweethearts, by throwing baseballs at milk cans.

-> Our recent poker tournaments have been challenging, in ways other than the game. Read about them at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: Monday's update on our "beggar's log" brought back memories for one reader....

A friend and I saw a man with a sign he was hungary near Logan's on Manchester Expressway.....As the red light caught us my friend opened the window and called him over and gave him some money,He said"God bless you,and I really am hungary."...The light changed and we pulled away...My friend said the guy worked with him and was a good worker..He was a mentally challenged man who made the best of his life .. So,some people begging have known a different life style. We looked back and he was headed to the Waffle House...My first question was,where was his case worker?

My second one was ,where was his family?

It's one thing to offer assistance to people you know. Several friends have done that for me over the years, and I'm very thankful for their generosity. It's the beggars I don't know which keep me on my guard -- especially if their car that's "low on gas" is so far away you can't possibly drive them to it.

We're going to hold another e-mail about beggars for this weekend. In the meantime, a larger appeal for money tops our Monday news summary....

+ WRBL's local segment of the Jerry Lewis telethon raised more than $206,000 to fight muscular dystrophy. The final total on the screen was down 15 percent from two years ago [2 Sep 08]. Did people "fill the boot" this year with dollar bills, or old pennies?

(While some TV stations began showing the telethon Sunday night, WRBL didn't begin this year until 9:00 a.m. ET. More people must be ordering products from late-night infomercials than I thought.)

+ WXTX changed its lineup for the new fall TV season - and in a bold move, Judge Judy has been moved to 6:00 p.m. ET. She seems to settle cases a lot faster than District Attorney Julia Slater does on the evening news....

+ Two men escaped from the Marion County Jail, but were recaptured quickly. Corey Lyles now stands accused of breaking out of the jail twice in three months. Someone needs to explain to him how Georgia's "two strikes, you're out" policy really works.

+ WLTZ showed what could be the largest watermelon ever grown in Alabama. The Morgan County melon weighs 210 pounds, and is 41 inches long -- long enough to barely fit horizontally inside the back of a pickup truck. In other words, it might feed the Alabama defensive line for one meal.

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