CORUNNA — The Shiawassee County Fair wrapped up Saturday night and for Thelma Jacobs, today starts the long wait until next year’s fair.
Jacobs has been coming to the Shiawassee County Fair for 63 years and her husband Raymond, as of two years ago, had been showing dairy at the fair for 77 years.
She previously served on the fair’s board for 18 years and was president of the 4-H council for a number of years.
Born and raised on a farm near the Burton Corners party store, her and her husband now own a cattle farm in New Lothrop that their son operates.
Back when she was young and growing up on a farm, her father wouldn’t let her participate in 4-H and it was when she met her husband that she started getting involved.
“I married a fellow who had jerseys (cows) and I love all the animals but jerseys are the easiest to handle and so loving.”
Jacobs spent a lot of time on the farm driving tractors and milking cows, she said.
“We had 60 steers back then and we used to have to carry the milk by pail when I was a kid — there were no pipelines.”
She’s currently a 4-H leader in the dairy barn and also a superintendent in the horticulture building.
Jacobs favorite thing about coming to the fair is the children she gets to spend time with and getting to teach them things.
“I love going up to the newer kids and telling them that the friends they make here are going to be friends for life. Some of them even call me Ma’ from time to time,” Jacobs said.
“Most kids don’t ever get in trouble if they are involved with 4-H. They have projects like woodworking that keep them busy year-round, and in the summer they get busy with the with dairy days and they also judge contests.”
This year there were four generations of Jacobs at the fair. One of Jacobs’ great-granddaughters had cattle there and was also judging.
She and her family have also been going to the Saginaw County Fair since 1983.
Jacobs attended the Shiawassee County Fair when it was at its previous location in McCurdy Park in Corunna. She helped tear down the old fairground and was around when the new fairgrounds were being put together. She also helped raise money for the new pig enclosures.
“Parts of the poultry barn are actually from the old dairy barn in McCurdy Park,” she said. “I really love the new fairgrounds, it’s a beautiful place to spend a day. I’ve had a lot of fun over the years and I just really love the atmosphere,” she said.
Jacobs enjoys all the new friends she gets to make when she’s helping out and the ones she gets to catch up with, who like her, are at the fair year after year.
She recalled a story when she was working at the fair in the 1970s. She got a pitchfork stuck in her ankle while she was chaperoning.
“I was walking down this aisle and this kid turned around with some manure on a fork, and he didn’t see me and put it in my ankle, so they had to rush me to the hospital.”
She said that boy graduated with her daughter and she actually ran into him at this year’s fair.
“He was up here this year and said, ‘Do you know how many years its been?’ He sat and visited with me for a while and it was nice.”
Jacobs said her thoughts are already turning to next year’s fair.
“I’ll be here until probably 11 p.m. tonight cleaning up, and then by noon tomorrow, you’d never know there was a fair. Then the wait for next year’s fair starts.”