Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

October 1997


Published in Great Plains Research 7:2 (Fall 1997). Copyright © 1997 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Prosterman graphically describes and idealizes traditional midwestern life as it focuses and culminates in the county fair by connecting food production to the harvest bounty. Her account of these American "festivals" began as a dissertation with data gathered in 1981-82. She visited twenty-four fairs, studied six in depth and conducted more than one hundred ethnographic interviews in two states. As a cultural anthropologist, Prosterman defines the county fair and its system of thought processes as folklore intimately connected to a small group people within a community. To the student of family and community sustainability, the book supplies a rich history county fairs' impact on community life.