Fair is foundation for many friendships


LISBON, Ohio – Water balloon fights, concerts, campground cookouts, roaming the midway in search of the perfect french fries (or the perfect date).
It’s the stuff fair kids look forward to all year. But even more important than the activities themselves is sharing the experience with someone else.
Some friendships are born on the fairgrounds, some start elsewhere and become sealed forever during fair week. Either way, fair folks young and old know that no matter how you find ’em, friends make the fair better than any blue ribbon.
Pals. Kati Cox, a student at Crestview High School, and Chelsea Stoffel, a student at Lisbon High School, are opposites on the outside. One is tall, one is short. One is quiet, one is loud. One shows rabbits, the other shows steers.
But the girls also have a lot in common, starting with the Columbiana County Fair.
“She’s pretty much my partner for everything we have to do,” Cox said of Stoffel.
Often, teens don’t look for friendships beyond their school’s clubs and teams. But fair friends will tell you it doesn’t matter if your jersey is blue or red or gold. All that counts is packing as much fun and mischief as possible into that one summer week.
Involved. Cox and Stoffel, both 16, are second-year members of the Columbiana County junior fair board and they’ve been counselors together at 4-H Camp Whitewood for three years. They even started out in the same 4-H club six years ago.
The girls spend time together outside of their fair activities, but there’s something special about those particular midsummer days.
“It’s how we met,” Cox said. “I look forward to the fair. I get to see Chelsea all week.”
Advice. Like all friends, these girls know a good thing when they see it and they’ve learned a few things along the way. Especially when it comes to guys.
“Never let a boy interfere with your friendship,” Cox said.
With a friendship built on good advice and good times, the girls agree there’s rarely a dull moment when they get together.
So, whether they’re eating cotton candy or rolling up their sleeves to paint a barn, it’s likely that Cox and Stoffel will laugh their way right through the fair.
Because they’re the kind of friends who make sure they sign up for booth duty together in the junior fair board building and the kind of friends who supervise the fair’s junior livestock shows together.
They’re the kind of friends who camp out at the fairgrounds all week and the kind of friends who stay up together half the night.
They’re the kind of friends we all want to be during fair week.
(Reporter Janelle Skrinjar welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at jskrinjar@farmanddairy.com.)


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