It's not the rides. It's not the games. It's not even the cotton candy that keeps bringing Jimmy Barrett back to the Erie County Fair.
“When I come back to the fair, it's like being 12-years-old again,” said Barrett.
Barrett is a long way from being 12. He's 66. Wednesday, he was dubbed the 2016 Erie County "Ultimate Fairgoer." The reason for the award? This is the 64th fair he's attended. The only two fairs he missed, Barrett was serving overseas in the Air Force.
“It's probably one of the biggest thrills of his life,” said Carolyn Barrett, Jimmy's wife. Carolyn has been to 40 fairs alongside Jimmy.
It's not just his impeccable attendance record that gives this native of Hamburg, now a resident of Baltimore, the fair's highest honor. It's his collection.
“If it says anything about the Erie County Fair or the Hamburg Fair in Erie County, New York, he wants it,” said Carolyn Barrett.
Inside the fairground's oldest building is the newest attraction. It’s a museum filled with Erie County Fair history, including some of Barrett's.
— Jeff Rusack (@JeffRusack) August 10, 2016
Inside his Maryland home, there are three rooms dedicated to the Erie County Fair. A fact that does not seem to bother his wife.
“I think that having something that he is so passionate about and that brings him such joy is important,” said Carolyn Barrett.
The fair is a family reunion for the Barretts. But, it's all of the fair’s history that keeps bringing Jimmy Barrett back to the Erie County Fair.
“Nothing like the Erie County Fair,” said Jimmy Barrett.
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