WELLINGTON, Ohio - More than 500 vendors sign up for the Lorain County Fair to sell their wares and food as early as February with good reason; the fair is a huge moneymaker for anyone looking to find late summer's families getting in a final bit of warm weather fun.
Sofia Barlow, her older sister and her mom were taking turns feeding their prize hens and roosters Tuesday morning. Blue ribbons decorated almost each of their poultry entries already.
Celebrating her first year in 4-H, Sofia was enjoying every part of the fair so far. She loves to show off her chickens, their personalities and their newly acquired blue ribbons.
"This is Speedy Beedy Puff Puff. She's a silky. She's very soft," said Sofia.
Next to her cage is her sister's hen. Both were prize winners.
"This is my sister's chicken. Her name is Dizzy and she's very nice. But, my rooster is Little MacIntosh. He can be a scratch eater sometimes, but he hasn't learned to crow yet," added Sofia.
Generations of vendors and prize-winning livestock showing brought some of smiles to the early Tuesday crowd. It's commonly a generational family affair here.
University of Akron Graduate Assistant Cassie Gleisner took time out before working on her final year working toward her Masters degree in Sports Administration to show her family's cows.
Tuesday afternoon Cassie's rare red and white, Holstein, in a sea of black and white versions, got the slap on the hind quarters from the judge signifying she had won first place.
"Every since I was very little my family has always had dairy cows. Once we got out of 4H, we just did it for fun. Both my brother and I played college sports so it takes away from the void of not competing in sports, so we still do it with dairy cows," said Gleisner. "My family loves it, my brother loves it, and I love it. It's very rewarding."
Fourth generation salted peanuts and apple cider slushees vendor Brittany Lawson tended her canvas-covered family cart with her mother. Both from Flint, Michigan, Brittany's great-grandmother was originally from Canfield, Ohio. The family only sells at the Lorain County Fair and the Canfield Fair traditionally each year.
"We started the apple cider slushees after my mom saw it at another fair. It's worked for us ever since," said Lawson. "We have one of the best spots at the fairgrounds, so we come here every year to the same spot by the grandstands. It's a great combination of bags of peanuts and icy apple cider. People love it."
After the Tuesday afternoon temperatures reached the mid-eighties, I personally can attest to the apple cider being a winner. One tip: Maybe sell pitchers of it!