ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Tuesday was opening day for this year's Allen County Fair. But how has the annual summer celebration changed over the years? To find out, we spoke with one group of fair attendees who have been at the center of the fair festivities for years.
Teresa Warner has been involved in 4-H and the Allen County fair for three generations. "My husband and I were both in 4H while we were growing up, and then our children were in 4H for about 20 years until we got all three boys through. Now I get to come sit in the lawn chair and watch my grandchildren show."
Her grandson, Daniel Ryan, has seen his share of 4-H shows as well. He's a top performer in the 4-H competitions. "I'm a tenured member, this is my last year. And we've raised pigs for cousins for 11 years now," says Ryan.
Warner says she's seen a lot change over the years... even the location. "We started out at the Coliseum, then we were at Irene Byron and tents until we could get some facilities set up here."
The fair has been at it's current location off Carroll Road since 1990, and a lot has changed for the 4-H crowd since then.
"We've seen the growth here with the show barn being here with a couple of buildings, lots, and tents and every year there's just a little bit of something added," says Warner.
With all of the changes taking place, it appears one thing that has remained constant are the number of animals being shown each year.
"People graduate and go away. New faces come in. It's like the more it changes, the more it stays the same type of thing," says Ryan.
But while they may have different reasons for coming to the fair each year, the reasons they enjoy it are the same as anyone else.
"It's just fun community. We come out here and see lots of friends, our neighbors, eat the food. It's just a real good social event," says Warner.
"It is neat, because you make a lot of new friends, and a lot of different kinds of friends," Ryan added.
For 4-H competitors, the success comes and goes.
Warner remembers, "We've won a few shows, and we've been dead last too. So, we've been at both ends and we've been in the middle."
"We've won it once, my cousin won it, and we've just been blessed," says Ryan.
But for most, winning isn't what 4-H... or the fair... is all about.
"It's something that I think is really worthwhile. It's a good project for the kids to give them something to do, put their energy into, keep them out of trouble," says Warner.
Both Warner and Ryan encourage people to come out to the fair this year... and maybe stop by the 4-H tents.
"I just hope everybody comes out and experiences it and supports it has a good time," beamed Warner.
The fair began Tuesday, July 20th, and runs through Wednesday, July 28th.
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