Faces at the fair

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Everybody has one.

We see them all the time, yet some we notice more than others.

I've photographed many faces at the SEMO District Fair over the years for the Southeast Missourian.

This year marks the fair's 154th edition. My first SEMO Fair was No. 120. You do the math.

The SEMO District Fair is a good place to see familiar faces outside the normal nine-to-five.

For some, the fair is all about the carnival rides. It's easy to find happy faces there.

The antique tractor pull is also a favorite. Contestants can put on serious faces, while others lighten it up.

The livestock exhibits provide faces of various shapes and sizes. Goats, chickens, cows, mules and other farm animals are brought to the city to show off the best of the barnyard. I could not miss the boer goat judge, Wes Hallman, dressed in a shirt resembling Old Glory.

In the livestock tent area, I found Dave Hale of the 5-H Ranch with one of his camels getting ready for another year of camel rides at the fair. Two distinctive faces. I got acquainted with Hale when he opened a drive-through exotic animal park at his ranch more than 30 years ago. Later on, the Hales closed the animal park and took their camel rides and petting zoo on the road.

I'll never forget the time I shot pictures of Hale's young son, John, playing with a baby cougar in their living room. He's grown up now and has a country band.

One of my favorite events to take pictures of is the poultry and rabbit dress-up contest. Paige Kain of Cape Girardeau brought her grandmother's white cochin rooster dressed up as Farmer Brown. She has entered the event for the last 14 years with rabbits, chickens and guinea pigs.

The SEMO District Fair is a great place to show your face.

~ Fred Lynch

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