By Ralphine Major

Summer is winding down, and fall is getting ready to take her rightful place.  The signs are all around.  Leaves are turning, Rocky Top is ringing in the air, and squirrels are gathering nuts for the winter.  Another sure sign of the changing seasons is the arrival of the Tennessee Valley Fair!

It was always a special time right after Labor Day when families designated a day to go and enjoy the fair.  There was a time on the school calendar when students were dismissed for a fun-filled afternoon in early September to attend the fair.  It was a time for candy apples, popcorn, and cotton candy.  There were displays to see that included crafts, sewing, photography, and vegetables from the garden.  There were prized farm animals to admire and tractor pulls to watch.  There were lots of rides including the merry-go-round, roller coaster, and Ferris wheel.  For many years, the Midway offered even more excitement.  There were footlong hotdogs to enjoy and Fairest of the Fair contest.  One summer when I worked for the late Congressman John J. Duncan, we handed out cups of cold water.  There were celebrity singers to entertain in the evening before the fireworks lit up the night sky and closed out the day of adventure.  What special times!

Enjoy the fair!  It is a wonderful place to make memories with family and friends.