Like the town of Saline itself, the Saline Community Fair had its beginnings in agriculture. The first fair was held at Union School in 1936 as a showcase for the youth club, Future Farmers of America.
As the city continued to grow, new ways to earn a living were increasingly added. City people began to forget about farming, to the point where some children today hardly know where their food comes from.
A visit to the Saline Community fair is a good cure for this dilemma. Though the fair now includes carnival rides, a queen contest, a talent contest, a rodeo, and a variety of commercial activities, the spectacle is still anchored by agriculture.
Children from the area townships still compete for showmanship in presenting animals they have raised. They also complete for the best job of preparing animals for market.
Those of us in the city may judge an animal for its curves, its cuteness or its capers. Those in farm country know that what matters is how it rates for production of meat.
On Wednesday, local youth displayed their rabbits, pigs, goats, steers, calves and sheep. Judges observed their skills, praising all, but ultimately choosing one as the best. Farm families watched with rapt attention.
In addition to animal husbandry, adults and children alike competed with produce as well. Prizes were awarded for the best corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, beans, squash, etc.
People competed in prepared forms of the produce as well. Prizes were awarded for pies, pickles, preserves and other tasty comestibles.
Craft skills were also on display. Needlework, photography and collections were among the creations that may be seen at the fair.
The fair continues at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor Saline Road, through Sunday with the carnival rides extended through Monday.