July 28, 2002 11:00 pm

Connect with some of Union County's history by attending the Union County Fair this week. The fair is Union County's longest running event. Although it was presented in various forms in the early days of the county, the fair — in one form or another — goes back 130 years. It's a milestone Union County residents should be proud of.

The fair actually began today with a variety of 4-H and FFA contests. But the main event begins in earnest on Wednesday. That's when all the displays will be in place, the carnival is running and entertainment is served up at the Boise stage and the main stage.

The fair will once again feature the essence of county fairs — the variety of agricultural goods and crafts put on display by local residents. It's always fun to see what others have grown or made.

"How'd they get corn like that this early?'' might be heard in the open class exhibit hall. Or, someone might remark, "My 'maters are as good as those. Maybe I should enter.''

Venture through the buildings and check out the art work, the photographs, the paintings, the commercial exhibits, and of course the variety of quality animals presented by 4-H, FFA and open class exhibitors.

Stop by one of the stages and check out the entertainment. From locals to the popular Portland band Johnny Limbo and the Lugnuts, a variety of entertainment will be offered over the course of the fair's four-day run.

And then, of course, there's the food that makes a county fair a one-of-a-kind show: burgers, corn on the cob, elephant ears, cotton candy. The list goes on and on.

For those who like a chance to win prizes, there's the carnival midway. A fair wouldn't be a fair without a midway. Pay your money and take your chances, but that's what a midway is all about.

And if you venture beyond the midway, the carnival rides will be waiting to make sure your fair's complete.

On Friday, don't forget to take in the fair parade. Union County's biggest parade will hit the street at 6 p.m. .

A county fair has it all, but perhaps the most important part is seeing people you might not have seen since the last county fair or since that last class reunion.

A county fair is about community. It's about having fun and celebrating our achievements and spending time together as a community. If you haven't been to the Union County Fair for a few years, help make the 130th even more special by showing up.

Let's try to make this the best Union County Fair ever and set an attendance record. By pulling together we can show that fairs have a certain specialness that few events can match — even at the grand old age of 130.