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Our Opinion: Still time to see the Crow Wing County Fair

Thursday's cold temperatures and rain might have put a little damper on things, but there's still plenty of time to enjoy the Crow Wing County Fair this year.

Specific upcoming events include Teen Day on Friday, along with the 4-H livestock awards program at 6 p.m. On Saturday it's Kids Day, with a Home Depot workshop for kids from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dig for nickels at 10:30 a.m.; a Veggie Derby at 11:30 a.m.; an antique tractor parade at noon; and minnow races at 1:30 p.m.

Those events follow on the heels of Tuesday's Military Day, Wednesday's Senior Citizens Day and Thursday's Ag Day.

And those are just the scheduled events. The fair is always a great time for walking through arts and livestock buildings to see who's going the the Minnesota State Fair later this summer; or to visit the industrial buildings to see what's new among participating businesses, groups or political campaigns.

Sure, some things have changed at the fair. As noted in Tuesday's Brainerd Dispatch, the Mills Fleet Farm booth is no longer, meaning the popular tradition of standing in line to collect the Fleet Farm T-shirts is no more. We agree with Fair Manager Gary Doucette's assessment that not everyone realized how much the Mills family did for this community. That absence was noted during Brainerd's Fourth of July parade, too. It will be a few years before the community fully realizes the impact of the Mills family's absence now that it no longer owns Fleet Farm.

But change doesn't always mean loss.

There is new "Tech Center" in the Fran Holden Memorial Curling Arena at the fairgrounds. This center, sponsored by Consolidated Telecommunications Company in Brainerd, will have phone-charging stations, free WiFi and Xbox gaming system fun.

Another new event is called "My American Farm," in the sheep and goats building, next to the milking parlor. This farm is an interactive station that will allow youths to watch informative videos on agriculture and play educational games, trivia and polls.

Add in the carnival midway and grandstand events and there's something for just about everyone. And many of us are expected to be there, up to 85,000 this year. Which brings us to another point we appreciate—where else can you see people from just about every socioeconomic status? The fair is for everyone.

In a busy, fast-paced, technological world, we appreciate that the fair offers a place for families to wander through at their leisure, getting away from their work, smartphones, computers and other everyday responsibilities for a while.

It only comes once a year, and there are just two days left. Get out and enjoy the Crow Wing County Fair.

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