Wisconsin author Jerry Apps wrote about many areas of agriculture during his lifetime.
His latest book, Meet Me on the Midway, A History of Wisconsin Fairs, published this summer by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, explores how different aspects (agricultural and recreational) of state and county fairs are different. I am considering how I have connected these aspects. social.
Q: What inspired you to write “Meet Me on the Midway”?
A: I have written quite extensively on the history of rural Wisconsin. This includes the history of studios and the history of agriculture. For some reason, I didn’t go (to write about it) to this iconic county and state fair. It’s about time I got to it. I’ve had a lot going on since I was a kid to being an impartial judge and county extension agent. I knew quite a bit about the fair from the beginning, but I didn’t know the early history, how it started, or where it started. For example, the city dates back to 500 BC. It seems appropriate to write a little about the history of the fair.
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Q: Do you still like going to trade fairs?
A: I am 88 years old. I haven’t traveled much lately. But when I worked at his UW-Extension, we went to state fairs and a few county fairs every year.
Q: In addition to animals and vehicles, is much of the fair related to food? Do you have a favorite fare?
A: When I started going to fairs in 1946, I could spend 25 cents. I didn’t really have a favorite food because I couldn’t afford it. One year… we purchased an army surplus tent in Wortoma (to stay overnight) at the Warshalla County Fair. We all went downtown for dinner. Dinner was 50 cents.
Q: In your book, you talk about judging fairs, which sounds like a very stressful job, but you’ve been doing it for over ten years. What did you enjoy about it?
A: I did it for 10 or 15 years. Judging at fairs has historically been one of the most important educational aspects. My father exhibited cattle at the Waushara County Fair in his 1920s. why did he do that (Because) farmers were always interested in improvement. At the fair they could see what excellence is and what they can strive for. That’s exactly what he was doing. This was an opportunity for friends from all over the county to come together and find something a little better than the rest.
Q: Have you ever worried about hurting someone’s feelings during judging?
A: You shouldn’t worry about it. Judged pigs and cattle, judged photography, and served as a garden judge. I’m a veggie judge and when I was judging cabbage I flipped it over to see if it had a price on it. I don’t think[the parents]were aware that Johnny went to the grocery store and bought a head of cabbage.
Q: Why did you feel it was important to highlight each county fair?
A: First, we thought we could include 2, 3, 4, or 5 counties as examples of fair history. Once I got into it, I decided it would be better to write about all of them. Well, I’m faced with… where can I find this information? What I first started with was creating extended offices in these different counties. It was a good source. Then I wrote to the Fairness Commission, some counties had all kinds of great historical information. Over the past few years, I have spoken to many historical societies.
Q: Throughout this book, there are stories of people attending various county fairs throughout Wisconsin. How did you find out who joined decades ago?
A: I still write a weekly column for farmers in Wisconsin. rice field. That’s not particularly unusual for my writing style. i like stories For me, stories bring history to life. So many people found their spouses at fairs. And they were very open about it. They sent me more details than I wanted.
Q: How many books have you written? What else are you working on?
A: I really don’t know, it’s 50 (books). I have written 12 novels. I write a series of novels for young readers. I’m working on the 3rd one right now. All of these novels deal with rural issues that are difficult to write in a non-fictional way. I have a character that deals with land use and food safety issues. I have taught him creative writing for 42 years. I tell my students, “Don’t get caught preaching” (in your writing), so I created a preacher (in my novel) to do that. I’ve written more poetry than I fuss about, but I’m smuggling it into a novel. I am currently writing three different books. I published my first book in 1970. My goal is to write a book when I turn 90, and he plans to publish one in 2024.
Q: What else should I know about “Meet Me on the Midway”?
A: Throughout this book, I have tried to emphasize the need for rural and urban America to understand each other. (But) agriculture is essential to our future. Through my fair book, I try to make that point, as I have tried with 20 or 30 other books.