Burnet County Area Fair means more than strawberry preserves

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

BURNET — Summer means a lot of things, but to Connie Roark, one traditions stands out.

“I know as a child growing up in Burnet County the fair was so important,” she said. “We all went to it. It was just a part of our lives.”

Now in 2013, youth and adults have so many other things they can do during the summer. Many residents don’t share the rural and agricultural ties Roark and her friends did during their childhood. Still, organizers see the Burnet County Area Fair not only as a worthy event, but an important one.

“It’s a great time for everybody to get together, but what we’re realizing is there’s a lot of kids interested in cooking and other things the fair celebrates, and this is a great chance for them to showcase those abilities and skills,” Roark said.

The 2013 fair is June 14-15 at the Burnet County Fair and Rodeo Grounds on Houston Clinton Drive (behind the municipal airport.) It runs in conjunction with the Burnet County Rodeo, though the two are basically separate events.

County fairs are an American tradition that settlers and immigrants brought with them from Europe and the British Isles. In the United States, the fair became a showcase for agricultural products and cooking. There are some county fairs that have been running for more than 100 years.

The Burnet County Fair ran for many years, but around 2000, it stopped. A decade later, a group of citizens got together and resurrected the event.

The event, now called the Burnet County Area Fair, features many of the traditional exhibits found at similar ones decades ago.

There are numerous categories in which people can compete, including arts and crafts, metal works, baked goods, quilting, woodworking and, of course, garden produce.

Along with the exhibits, the event offers informational and educational opportunities.

“We’re trying to provide a service for the community as well,” Roark said.

Some of the informational programs cover issues such as protecting watersheds and beekeeping. Linda Wells of the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service will present “Cooking Healthy for the Holidays.” There also will be a hydroponic gardening demonstration.

Joke Reeder will even give a lesson on spinning raw alpaca wool into yarn.

Roark said the fair this year is offering a wide variety of vendors for the first time. And while horses were a staple at early county fairs, Burnet County Area Fair organizers didn’t want to stray from that tradition, but they just went a bit more modern when it comes to horsepower. The Lake Area Rods and Classic Car Club will hold a car show June 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On June 15, area 4-H clubs will provide a barbecue lunch with all the trimmings for $10 as a fundraiser.

“The fair has really grown in the past few years we’ve held it,” Roark said. “And we really believe it’s because the community, businesses and individuals have really got behind it and supported it.”

The Burnet County Area Fair is open 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. both days. For more information or a complete schedule, go to www.burnetcountyfair.com.

daniel@thepicayune.com