Caldwell: Festivals, fairs give us community identity

Published 11:07 am Monday, May 14, 2018

Nothing captures the spirit, heritage and culture of a community quite like our local festivals and county fairs, each intertwined in the past, present and future of the people who call a place home.

And it’s almost time to make more memories.

For Winchester, the Beer Cheese Festival has become a staple of the community. In many ways, as the birthplace of beer cheese, this event has helped create an identity that didn’t exist for Clark County.

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It serves as a perfect bookend to another community festival — the Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival that is now in its 40th year – that sort of helps start and end our summer.

Both of these are uniquely Clark County and offer a tremendous window to our past while building our future.

Take a little time to catch your breath then get ready for some fair fun.

The Clark County Fair is set for June 16-23.

From the delicious sugary aroma of funnel cakes to the heart-pumping exhilaration of carnival rides to the ear-to-ear smiles of 4-H winners, nothing personifies small-town American quite like the county fair.

The fair serves many roles in our community, often becoming part festival, part family reunion, part business showcase — and everything in between.

Anyone who says the county fair is only for farmers or those who live in the country has no idea what they are missing.

County fairs change lives and shape the community. They provide safe and positive activities for families.

From Midway-style attractions to big-name musical entertainment to countless animal shows, there is something for everyone.

The economic impact helps makes our communities better places to live. Thousands of people will visit these events, spending their hard-earned money here in Clark County. Every dollar gets re-circulated a dozen times over, helping to employ local people and injecting life into the economy.

Fairs and the 4-H programs that drive them teach youth countless invaluable lessons about responsibility, hard work, leadership, commitment, public speaking and more.

All of our local fairs and festivals, regardless of the specific focus, accomplish something so important in today’s high-tech, connected-in-more-ways-than-ever-but-less-connected-in-the-ways-that-really-matter world: They bring us together as human beings.

Our communities need that, perhaps now more than ever.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. He can be reached at (859) 759-0095 or by email at