The Washington Post

Drugs needles, ‘raw opium’ and other scenes from the county fair over the years

You read Lydia DePillis’s report on how kids’ livestock shows at the West Virginia county fair have changed with the times. But long before that — or even before fried Twinkies dominated county fairs across America — Sheriff’s deputies scared small children with portraits of drug addiction. Step into this touching scene from 1970, captured in the Post archives:

“One of the arcade’s most elaborate displays is the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department exhibit on drugs. It shows opium pipes, vials of marijuana, barbiturates, and raw opium, and has a potted marijuana plant on a nearby table, turning yellow from lack of sun. If the exhibit is a sign of how the Prince George’s County Fair has changed with the times, then the 11-year-old boy who was looking at it must be a sign of how the more things change, the more they remain the same. Solemnly listening to Capt. William Feeney of the county sheriff’s department discussing the dangers of drugs, and observing the exhibit, he pointed to a picture of a drug addict with a needle. The age-old interest of 11-year-old boys in gory details shone through, as he asked for a copy – a souvenir of the fair.”

This 1964 article highlights the true spectacle of the Prince George County. It’s the city folk, you see. City folk who have never seen a real, live chicken:

“City folk make up a good part of the crowd… For those among them who don’t know a golden bantam from a golden Guernsey, exhibitors have agreed to keep their poultry and livestock on the grounds until the fair closes…”

And this 1967 gem is called “5,000 Ogle Girls, Goats.” No further comment:

“They poked around exhibits, watched a parade, and saw contests ranging from dairy goats to beauty queens…”

Danielle Paquette is a reporter covering the intersection of people and policy. She’s from Indianapolis and previously worked for the Tampa Bay Times. Follow her on Twitter: @Dpaqreport.



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Danielle Paquette · August 25, 2014