I have not been to the Mendocino County Fair in a very, very, very long time -- possibly as long a time as some people have not been to the Mendocino County Museum. It was a great reminder of how unique and local and real and friendly the Fair is -- just like the Mendocino County Museum. I met so many people who have links to and knowledge of the history of Mendocino County, and who are vitally part of the present of Mendocino County. It was fascinating to talk with them and hear about their families.
As with so much of what the Museum is doing these days, this was a learning experience. I learned a lot from several very fine folks with wonderful stories and ties to communities throughout the county. I noticed that, on Saturday, about half the people were from outside of the county, from the Bay Area, Marin, Sacramento, and Sonoma counties.
Friday and Sunday seemed to be more local people. There were folks who could tell me connections among county residents -- a third cousin, great-grandmother, or father's brother from Italy. I learned about a wonderful red wine, a Pinot Noir by Claudia Springs Winery -- being located next to the Wine Grape and Wine Commission tasting booth is not a bad thing. The rainbow colors of dyed yarns in the Wool and Fiber building were beautiful.
Having spent most of the weekend at the Mendocino County Fair, I have great appreciation for the agricultural heritage of this county. I've got some new ideas for next year's Museum display I really want to encourage and capture more of people's stories and connections. Also, there's a serious need for a booth that sells fresh green salads and sandwiches in which nothing is fried . . . . If you've got ideas for the Museum at the Fair, please send us an email and let us know. [If you're a healthy, low-fat, low-carb food vendor, please contact the County Fair staff!]
I consider almost everything the Museum is doing this year to be a rehearsal for next year, as we strive for the minimum two-year planning window that museums should have. That way, despite our focus in the past, there's always something to look forward to in the future. See you at the 2011 Mendocino County Fair!