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home : columns : columns August 16, 2017

8/9/2017 9:46:00 AM
Live a little at the county fair
Whenever the Cottonwood County Fair rolls around, I cannot help but recall the first time I attended the fair.
For me, it was a challenge just finding the grounds. The year was 1988 and I had started working here just a couple of days earlier, having arrived from my editor position at the Montevideo American-News.
It was surreal, walking through the fairgrounds with a camera and note pad, not knowing a soul. I received lots of funny looks. One guy asked, "Are you from the Worthington Globe?"
Names and faces blended together. There were so many introductions, so much to remember.
However, I was struck by the friendliness that pervaded.
Since then, I've tried to remember what it was like to be a non-local, a newcomer, in Windom. I've tried to capture the friendly gestures I received and "pass them forward," so to speak.
Looking back, I believe I was fortunate to have arrived during the county fair. It is the kind of get-together that is made for meeting people and socializing.
Unfortunately, the rise of the digital era seems to have put a dent into community gatherings such as the fair and Riverfest. When I arrived, Windom had roughly 30 cable TV channels. The Internet and cell phones did not exist.
Some say Americans have become prisoners of the Internet and television. They suggest that people often spend far more time at home glued to screens than out socializing with friends and neighbors.
However, there is hope. At Monday's Night to Unite, the Square was absolutely packed with folks enjoying hamburgers, ice cream, displays and family friendly games. Hopefully, we will again see folks seize the chance to live a little at the Aug. 16 county fair.

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