Fair season carries the flavors of late summer

The annual round of regional fairs, and all the wonderful late summer traditions they represent, officially kicks off this week with the Iron County Fair.

People will assemble at the Iron River fairgrounds, bringing livestock, produce, canned goods, craft items, sewing and other talents to see how they measure up against each other in the judges’ eyes.

But fairs offer not just such competitions, but the full sensory experience that seems so synonymous with late summer, the clock ticking down to school and fall.

Fairs offer the sights, sounds and smells of barnyards, stables, serious motors, deep-fried and grilled items, the shrieks of fear and delight on rides, the live music.

This week the gathering is in Iron River. Next week is the Upper Peninsula State Fair from Monday through Aug. 19 in Escanaba.

Marinette County will have its fair Aug. 23 to 26 in Wausaukee, Wis., with neighboring Florence County having its event from Aug. 24 to 26 in Florence, Wis.

The Dickinson County Fair in Norway makes sure the summer ends on a high note, starting Aug. 30 and extending through the Labor Day weekend to close Sept. 3.

So there’s plenty of chances to soak in as much of the fair atmosphere as you want, see the dairy cattle, steers, swine, lambs and goats, rabbits and poultry. Eat foods you probably shouldn’t and enjoy every decadent bite. Admire the horticultural, textile or artistic and craft skills of others.

Or maybe just revel in displays of horsepower, whether on wheels or hooves.

These are events not just well worth supporting but easy to enjoy. So take the chance this month and go to a fair in the region.