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It’s moving day at the Iowa State Fair.  Today is the last day of the fair so that means most of the campers will be moving out at some point today.  It is a bittersweet day.

This has caused me to think about what it means to be community.  Most visitors to the fair do not venture out of gate 5 on the east end of the fairgrounds to see the small city that exists in the State Fair Campgrounds.  But if you do, you will be amazed at this temporary community of individuals.  From all parta of the state and country, individuals and families join together in a community.  Some are people who work or volunteer at the fair.  Some are families who have camped here for over 50 years.  Some have small campers, some have converted buses, some have huge campers, and some, like me, have tents.  Some are here just on the weekends, some for one or two days, some are here all 11 days.  It becomes quite the melting pot.

But does it take more than just being in the same area for a length of time to be a community?  I have camped in the same location for four years.  Many of my neighbors have been the same for all four years.  We recognize each other, have small chit chat, and tend to notice abnormal behaviors in a somewhat watching-out-die-each-other sort of way.  Does that make us as community?

I am sad as I watch my neighbors pack up and move out.  It feels a bit like the tearing down of a community. I know we will come together again in a year with maybe a few changes.  We come because we love the Iowa State Fair and for a bit of time we are no longer strangers but neighbors.

So I ask my readers, what does it take to be a community?  I think that the Iowa State Fair Campgrounds at least has some of those qualities.  Come join us sometime!

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