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The Berrien County Youth Fair comes to the local fairgrounds every August, and it’s unlike any other county fair we’ve ever attended.

What makes it unusual is that all the entrants must be 21 or younger, regardless of whether they’re showing animals or decorating cakes or creating handcrafted items. Which means these young people are not competing with Aunt Mary’s famous apple pie recipe that was perfected twenty years ago or with some local dairyman with a hundred-head herd.

The food is something to appreciate as well. Today’s visit saw us snarf down steak tips over a mound of mashed potatoes and smothered with grilled onions and mushrooms. We followed that with a humongous taco filled with healthy lettuce and tomato along with the other less pristine ingredients.

We passed on the cotton candy and ice cream, but Earl has an affinity for the local church ladies who bake pies for sale. Today we supported the United Methodist Church by eating cherry pie with a crumble crust. It was just as good as any dessert from the famous French Laundry in California.

The weather was sufficient, and parents strolled the fair with wagons and buggies in tow. Some men hoisted offspring onto their shoulders for a better view. Children delighted in live animals and ice cream. Older couples shared tubs of French fries and cardboard plates of elephant ears. Teenagers held hands.

But the most interesting thing of all was that we didn’t see a single person on a cellphone.

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