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Tourists, residents take in summer tradition of East Otter Tail County Fair

Trisha Marczak/FOCUS Debby Cribb, 6, of Dent, had the merry-go-round all to herself Friday afternoon.

For some, the East Otter Tail County Fair is the ultimate showdown. For others, it's the peak of summer relaxation and fun.

Maren Anderson of Perham is used to exhibiting every year, mainly horses. For her, the fair is the time when her hard work throughout the year matters.

"It's the big summer thing," she said.

It was the first county fair experience for her sister, Lourdes Anderson, a native of Mexico. She jumped right in, exhibiting animals, as well.

"I like it," she said. "This is kind of cool."

Others, like the Fry family, were there for the genuine Minnesota summer experience. Natives of California, Annika Fry, 7, and Alena Fry, 5, were staying at their family's summer Otter Tail Lake home. The girls typically make it to the fair every year.

It was a similar situation for the Strong family of Colorado. With family in Perham, twins Lola and Stella Strong, 5, were living it up at the fair with their cousin.

Pete Minten and his son, Jacob, show cattle at the fair every summer. Residents of Auburn, Wash., the family has made the East Otter Tail County Fair a family tradition worth traveling for. Pete, originally from the East Otter Tail County area, said he wants his son to experience the type of childhood he had, complete with the small town atmosphere and life on the farm. The fair just fits into the overall mission.

Though final figures regarding money raised are not in yet, Diane Sazama, fair treasurer, said over the course of four days, 1,562 cars parked on the fair grounds.