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Festivals, fairs give us community identity

Nothing captures the spirit, heritage and culture of a community quite like our local festivals and county fairs, each intertwined in the past, present and future of the people who call a place home.

And it’s almost time to make more memories.

I look forward to my first Great American Brass Band Festival, set for May 31 to June 3, as the entire community comes to life with a host of activities that offer a unique window into the local culture.

In addition to all of the individual performances from bands and soloists, veteran festival goers have told me that can’t-miss attractions are the Main Street Parade, the Great American Picnic and this year’s Bayou and Brass party.

For more information, visit gabbf.org, and stay tuned to The Advocate-Messenger for our upcoming event guide on May 26.

After the notes have faded, take a little time to catch your breath then get ready for some fair fun.

The Boyle County Fair is set for June 12 to 16.

From the delicious sugary aroma of funnel cakes to the heart-pumping exhilaration of carnival rides to the ear-to-ear smiles of 4-H winners, nothing personifies small-town Americana quite like a county fair.  

These events serve many roles in our communities, often becoming part festival, part family reunion, part business showcase — and everything in between.

Anyone who says the county fair is only for farmers or those who live in the country has no idea what they are missing.

County fairs change lives and shape the community.

They provide safe and positive activities for families. From midway-style attractions to big-name musical entertainment to countless animal shows, there is something for everyone.

The economic impact helps makes our communities better places to live. Thousands of people will visit these events, spending their hard-earned money here in central Kentucky. Every dollar gets re-circulated a dozen times or more, helping to employ local people and injecting life into the economy.

Fairs and the 4-H programs that drive them teach youth countless invaluable lessons about responsibility, hard work, leadership, commitment, public speaking and more.

All of our local fairs and festivals, regardless of the specific focus, accomplish something so important in today’s high-tech, connected-in-more-ways-than-ever-but-less-connected-in-the-ways-that-really-matter world: They bring us together as human beings.

Our communities need that, perhaps now more than ever.

Michael Caldwell is interim publisher of The Advocate-Messenger and Danville Living magazine. He can be reached at (859) 469-6400 or by email at mike.caldwell@centralkynews.com.