By Emily Summars
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The smell of Indian tacos and corn dogs will soon be wafting through the air Sept. 5-8 during the Cleveland County Free Fair at the county fairgrounds, 615 E. Robinson St.
In its 106th year, Fair Board Secretary Andrea Earles said this is the first year the fair will run through Sunday.
“We thought, ‘Everyone is here and the carnival remains set up, so why not?’” Earles said.
The now four-day free fair is packed full of entertainment, Earles said, including the one-day car show, carnival rides, crafts, live music, livestock shows, tractor pulls, petting zoo, contests and more.
“It’s just a weekend of fun,” Earles said. “Once upon a time, the fair was more geared toward exhibitors. Now, it’s grown so much, we have a car show, free hay rides, public cupcake contests ... events the fair never had.”
The craft fair is board member Carol Doner’s favorite event. She competes against her fellow Oklahoma Home Community and Education group members in several categories.
OHCE members also work the Indian taco stand and concessions at the fair to raise scholarship money. Each year, OHCE gives $1,500 to three high school seniors from the money raised during the fair.
Though Doner is partial to the arts and crafts building, she said the fair truly has something for everyone.
“If you go up to the State Fair, it’s not free and there’s a whole lot more people there,” Doner said. “The Cleveland County Free Fair gets bigger and bigger here every year. Even when we didn’t have a paved parking lot, it was still fun. There will be all kinds of vendors inside and out.”
As Norman’s grown, Earles said the fair has adjusted to become more urbanized, too. With no building, the fair was held in a tent starting in 1946 until the community established a board to purchase 10 to 15 acres for the fairgrounds.
“A lot of people get to see animals they may have never seen before,” Earles said. “Poultry is becoming a big thing in Norman.”