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Great State: A Small Town Fair Tradition Still Going Strong

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, OKLAHOMA -- For a free ride and a sky full of possibilities the good people of Mt. View and nearby Gotebo, Oklahoma gathered on a Wednesday night in anticipation of the year's biggest celebration.

Burgers sizzled on the grill.

Dignitaries read a proclamation sent all the way from the state capitol.

And, for the first time in several years, square dancers 'reeled' in Pretty Woman.

Organizers of the annual Mt. View Free Fair don't usually start up on a Wednesday night, but you only celebrate 100 of these once so they brought out a cake.

Winona Combast got a big slice.

She's been to more free fairs than most people can remember.

"How many of these fairs have you been to," asks a visitor?

"Oh, about a hundred," she laughs. "Not really, but a lot of them."

Joe Hancock recalls funding his senior trip to Mexico with Free Fair proceeds.

Now he's one of hundreds of volunteers who gather months in advance to carry on the tradition.

"We will have 300 people volunteer to work at the fair," he says.

The entire population of Mt. View itself is around 700.

In the early days the free fair was just a family picnic, but in the 1940's the fair board moved in and bought up the old Craterville Park Carnival.

Volunteers have kept these rides humming ever since.

Tolbert Park is a quiet place most of the year, a good spot for picnics.

But for three days in late July and early August people from miles around still circle in all kinds of ways.

The Mt. View Free Fair remains that summer time tradition still going strong generation after generation, sunset after sunset.

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