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Fair: A small price for the memories

The smell of funnel cakes frying in hot oil, the thrill of the Scrambler and the sound of children laughing on a steamy, summer night. What could be more fun than the Exchange Club Fair?

The annual event kicks off today and will wrap up the following weekend. The fair is a decades-old tradition in Brookhaven and one that has entertained generations of local families.

It’s a bit of a throwback to simpler times, with traditional fair games and classic rides. That’s part of the appeal for many. The fair hasn’t changed much since they were children. And now they can bring their own children (and grandchildren) back to a place where so many of their own childhood memories were made.

“It’s one of the few places I can remember coming to as a child that really hasn’t changed that much,” Det. Clint Earls said a couple years ago. “Some of the lights have changed. Some of the rides have been painted. A couple of things have been moved. But basically it’s still the Exchange Club Fair. It holds a special place in your heart when you’re able to put your kids or grandkids on a ride that you rode as a child.”

That pretty much sums up the fair.

But those childhood memories are only made possible through the hard work of volunteers with the Exchange Club. They spend weeks preparing for the event. Something always needs painting, the rides need maintenance, the list of what has to be done goes on and on.

The club uses the fair as its main fundraiser. Proceeds from the fair are used to maintain Exchange Club Park and for scholarship and contributions to charitable organizations in the area.

Admission to the fair is free but rides require the purchase of a $10 armband. That’s a small price to pay to create memories that will last for generations.