The Herald Bulletin

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Editorials

June 21, 2014

Editorial: Unique fairs, festivals fare better than just rides, games

Saturday marks the first official day of summer, and we all know what summer is all about.

Fairs. Festivals. Fun times.

Local fairs are where some of our best and most colorful memories of summer and childhood are born. Winning your very first goldfish by tossing a pingpong ball into a bowl. Learning the very important lesson of not filling up on hot dogs and nachos right before riding the Tilt-A-Whirl. Having a first kiss at the top of the Ferris wheel.

Summer would seem dull without memories like these.

That makes it truly unfortunate that the folks of Summitville won’t be making them, at least not in their hometown, this year.

The Summitville Country Fair, held the last week of June for the past four years, has been canceled.

Coordinators of the fair say the decision to cancel came after the carnival group that has provided rides and entertainment in the past decided against doing so again this year. The group, Funtime Carnival, didn’t make a profit from the 2013 fair and the financial risk was simply too great to return for 2014.

The Summitville Main Street Commission tried to lure another carnival group but decided to nix this year’s fair when insurance proved too costly.

It’s encouraging to see that the commission doesn’t see this as an end to the fair but is instead taking the opportunity to re-examine what the fair should be. That’s an excellent idea.

Certainly rides, games and food are a big part of the fair experience. But so is a fair’s uniqueness.

The most successful fairs and festivals are founded on a central theme, such as Blueberry Festival in Plymouth, Swiss Days in Berne and Turtle Days in Churubusco. It’s the blueberry pies, brats and sauerkraut and hunt for Oscar the giant turtle that draw people to these small Indiana towns each summer. The rides and games are just a side dish.

Local fairs and festivals are an important part of being a community. Residents come together to celebrate another year as an extended family while welcoming visitors from near and far. It’s the epitome of summertime in America.

Hopefully, with a little imagination, Summitville won’t have to miss out again next year.

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