MEDINA — Steady rain Saturday morning didn’t keep Rex Simon from Uptown Park, where the Medina County Fair Board was hosting an Old Time County Fair on the Square.
The Medina resident, 84, wanted to see the older-model farm equipment, which was part of the event, parked alongside Medina County Courthouse.
“I grew up on a farm in my teenage years, west of Lincoln, Nebraska,” Simon said. “We had an old John Deere D tractor with all steel wheels. I wanted to come and see what they had.”
The Fair on the Square was a preview of the 173rd Medina County Fair, which is scheduled to run Sunday through Aug. 5 on Medina County Fairgrounds, 720 W. Smith Road. It also was the latest in a series of events marking the city’s bicentennial this year.
The event Saturday featured farm animals — goats, chickens, roosters and rabbits — from the county’s 4-H groups, and historical displays of past county fairs. Children ran sack races and played ring toss, the kind of games kids enjoyed at the fair in the 1940s.
Also, a modern Case IH tractor was parked next to a 1958 International Harvester tractor, driven to Fair on the Square by its owner, Tom Indoe, a member of the fair board.
Fair on the Square started at 9 a.m. and was scheduled to last until 1 p.m. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had her own plans, and rain shut down the event a little early.
Despite the weather, the fair board managed to communicate its message about the historical significance of the county fair, the first of which was organized in 1845 and called the Medina County Cattle Show and Fair, according to the county fair website.
In those early days, the purpose of the fair was to show off the year’s harvest, exchange farming methods, keep a record of agricultural achievements and note new approaches to agricultural.
Early fairs included horse races on a quarter-mile track and strength competitions involving horses pulling stone-boats, or sleds, designed for hauling heavy objects.
According to the county fair website, electricity was introduced to the fair in 1922 and fireworks became part of the festivities in 1928.
These days, the fair’s budget is more than $1 million. That’s an increase of 1,481,381 percent over the first-year’s budget — $67.50.