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Taylor County Fair

Taylor County Fair Taylor County Fair

A phone rings.

Fair volunteer answers: “Hello Taylor County Fair office, how can I help you?”

Caller: “With all the rain have you cancelled tonight’s pulls yet?”

Volunteer looking out to the clear blue skies, warm temperatures and lazy dust devils kicking up in the very, very dry midway outside the fair office. “Ummmmm.”

Caller: “There is a severe storm warning for Grafton.” Volunteer thinking they are being pranked. “It’s not raining here, in fact we aren’t due to get any rain until Monday or Tuesday.”

Volunteer pauses. “You know this is the Taylor County Fair in Taylor County WISCONSIN?”

Caller: “Oh, I am trying to get ahold of the Taylor County Fair in Grafton, West Virginia.”

Volunteer: “Hold on I’ll see what I can find out.” The volunteer goes online and finds that yes, indeed the Taylor County Fair in Grafton, West Virginia had canceled most of their activities due to the severe weather and relayed that information to the caller along with their revised schedule to deal with the mud the next day.

A quick search finds that there are Taylor Counties in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Texas, West Virginia and right here in Wisconsin. To take you down a rabbit hole of fun facts, four of those counties (Florida, Georgia, Iowa and Kentucky) are named after America’s 12th president Zachary Taylor. Others such as Taylor County, Wisconsin take their names from more local connections. The Texas County is named after three brothers who died at the Alamo. West Virginia named their Taylor County after writer and politician John Taylor while here in Wisconsin, Taylor County is named after former governor William Robert Taylor.

I happened to have stopped in the fair office on Saturday afternoon when I witnessed the call I detailed above. It seemed odd to me that someone would go through the effort of finding a number and not check to see if it was in the right state, you would think the unusual area code would be a tip off. However, given the explosion in phone numbers and cellphones in recent years just about everyplace has had new area codes.

I was informed that it is routine to field calls from people in other states. Generally the volunteers in the fair office can pick up quickly that folks aren’t from around here by their accents. Given our fair’s date in the height of the fair season, it is not surprising that there are multiple Taylor County fairs going on at the same time. I was told that Kentucky, Georgia and Texas are the most common ones to call seeking information whether it is about the schedule of events or about vendor opportunities.

The oddball phone calls are par for the course for the volunteers working in the fair office. In the few minutes I ducked in to get some shade, a child came in reporting her parent was lost somewhere on the fairgrounds, someone turned in a lost cellphone, another person came in asking if a jacket had been found. Another person stopped to find out how people get selected to serve on the fair board.

In between the phone calls, the volunteers worked to keep the smiles on their faces and in their voices as they sold wristbands for the grandstand shows and dealt with parents trying to say that their “child,” who had a heavy case of 5 o’clock shadow, was under 10 and should get in grandstands for free.

I would hope that if a local resident accidentally called some other Taylor County’s fair they would be met with the same courtesy, kindness and attention that random out-of-state callers get from volunteers at our community’s fair.

Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.