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Fair brings back memories for Graf

Carl Graf stands next to a newly-dedicated memorial at the McLean County Fair on Wednesday / CIFN photo.

BLOOMINGTON – Carl Graf spent a few moments reminiscing under the flags at the McLean County Fair Wednesday.

While he was in 4-H during the 1950s, he stood under the flag which tends to bring back memories of a lengthy 4-H career which also included his children. The “Salute to Flags” memorial lists the previous locations of the McLean County Fair and includes the 4-H Pledge at the top.

Graf helped install the concrete platform under the flags when the fair first moved to the Interstate Center grounds 20 years ago.

“I’ve got 65 years associated with the McLean County Fair and my kids were in it – associated with it for 22 years in their lifetimes,” Graf said.

All of Graf’s children went to the national 4-H Congress and the memorial is something he thought was appropriate for the grounds.

“It’s going to stay out here out of respect to the 4-H alumni.”

Prior to being held at the current grounds since 1997, the McLean County Fair was at Farm Bureau Field from 1956-1996, Fans Field from 1936-1955, the ISU Farm in 1935, Fans Field in 1934, Bongo Park from 1927-1933 and Coolige Farm from 1923-1926. Graf became involved with 4-H at Fans Field and recalls the move to different grounds in 1956.

“Our club planted the grass and did all of the work as volunteers,” Graf recalled.

Those involved with the fair surprised Graf this year with a new paint job on the flagpole. Graf appreciates the work of so many volunteers from one generation to the next.

“I’ve been out on Ireland Grove Road all my life and I’ve got a memory bank of what changes happened.”

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