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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • That's What I Think: Take part in the celebration of rural life at fair

  • The event I've enjoyed covering as a reporter and enjoy as a local resident will run from July 31-Aug. 3 this year.
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  • The event I've enjoyed covering as a reporter and enjoy as a local resident will run from July 31-Aug. 3 this year.
    Of course, I'm talking about the Phelps County Fair.
    I think I wrote something about every fair from 1984 through 2004, when I left The Rolla Daily News to try to put out an independent monthly publication. I resumed working part-time in the fall of 2010, too late to write anything about the fair that year, but I believe I was back out at the fairgrounds in 2011 and 2012. I'll be out there at least one night this year.
    Rolla, an unusual city demographically speaking, because of the preponderance of transplants from bigger places and temporary residents on their way to bigger places, has never understood the fair, in my opinion.
    I continue to see the county fair the way it was seen by Eugene VanBibber, who was my Fair Board contact back when I started working here in the previous century. He saw it as a way for rural residents to show town residents the products of their farms and ranches, and that was the No. 1 reason for having the fair.
    And an important subset of that purpose was this: The fair is the No. 1 way for county youth to show their town counterparts what they do out in the country, i.e. raise cattle, hogs, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens.
    He explained to me that way back yonder in time, rural folks would get together at harvest to show what they had raised. They showed off their animals and their produce. People like to rank themselves with others, so fairs and festivals soon started having animal judging and home arts contests.
    Then, he explained, the rural families wanted something else to do between the judging times and in the evenings, so the fairs and festival organizers started bringing in carnivals and music.
    For many city residents, that's what the fair is, a time to go hear music and ride the carnival rides.
    But for Eugene, a friend as well as a news contact, the fair was always a showcase for rural residents to show off their animals and their produce to one another and to city residents.
    Eugene passed away several years ago, but the fair continues to be a something of a showcase, despite the changes in agriculture that have taken place since 1984 throughout the nation, across Missouri and in Phelps County. There just aren't as many people seriously involved in agriculture nowadays.
    Nevertheless, there will be plenty to do at the Phelps County Fair. There's music, contests, the carnival rides and, yes, the animal judging and the home arts contest judging.
    I hope you'll attend the fair and listen to the good music and ride the rides. Please, also be sure to take time to visit with the folks, especially the young people, who exhibit their animals. Also go to the home arts show and look at what people have grown, preserved and crafted.
    Page 2 of 2 - Enjoy the fair. It's a celebration of rural life.
    More foreign ownership of the means of production is the way we are headed.
    THE CHANGING WORLD: Earlier this month, July 11, as a matter of fact, the one millionth Kia was built in West Point, Ga.
    Talk about a changing world. This is a South Korean car company with an auto factory in the American South, making cars to sell throughout the United States, including right here in Rolla.
    According to the announcement from Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, the one millionth car was a white Sorento SUV. It went to one of the 765 dealerships. Byung Mo Ahn, CEO for Kia Motors America and KMMG, did not specify which dealership. Maybe it was the Rolla dealer.
    Kia invested $1 billion in the West Point plant, providing 3,000 jobs in the once-thriving textile town that had seen those jobs move to other countries.
    The West Point plant has the capacity of 360,000 vehicles a year. A typical auto factory in the U.S. has a capacity of around 240,000.
    COUNCIL MEMBERS SHOULD ATTEND: I don't think it is too much to expect our elected officials to attend the meetings of the boards, commissions and councils they sought to belong to.
    I checked the attendance record of the Rolla City Council members and wrote the story this past week. I think I was kind. I didn't go back over a full year. I only went back to April, to the first meeting after the city election.
    We'll keep an eye on council attendance the rest of the year. If these men and women think they're so highly intelligent that they are qualified to make decisions about your city, especially the spending of your tax money, don't you think they should attend all the meetings? I think so.
    Especially since we PAY them to serve on the council.
    R.D. Hohenfeldt, a Georgia native, has lived in Rolla since '84. Currently, he writes regular columns for OzarksAlmanac.com, ozarksalmanac.blogspot.com and occasional columns on the registered forums of Smoker-Builder.com. On the night shift, he helps cover Rolla city and school government for The Rolla Daily News. To register a complaint with the editor about something R.D. has written, e-mail your comments to phackbarth@therolladailynews.com. To write to R.D. directly, send an e-mail to Rhohenfeldt@therolladailynews.com.

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