There are 700 water spigots at the Warren County Fairgrounds, and each of them needed a new anti-syphon valve installed this summer.
That bit of trivia is offered to give some idea of the level of detail involved in getting the fairgrounds ready for the county's annual agriculural exposition. Of course, it's more than that. It's a county reunion; it's an escape to a time when entertainment was wholesome in the main and usually affordable.
There are dozens of buildings to open from nearly a year of disuse, painting, planting, grading, seeding, building and repairing.
And here's the great part: 99 percent of the work is done by volunteers. Most of them have been doing it for longer than they can remember. Each year as youngsters they looked forward to the fair as the best week of the year, a time to forget that school was only a few weeks hence. As adults, it's a time to reunite with friends, relatives from out-of-town, to be entertained and reminded of simple pleasures.
There are a thousand different reasons why these people volunteer to take on the challenge of preparing the fairgrounds for one week in August.
As you walk the grounds meandering from one barn to another, licking a monstrosity of an ice cream cone, keep in mind that none of it would be possible without the volunteers who tend the minutiae, the thousands of big and little jobs that make each fair a success.