Once a year the carnival would come to my hometown for a week. My step-dad worked with the service club that sponsored the event, so I always got free ride tickets and 'insider' access.

I always found the lights exciting, and just the energy from everyone in town coming together.

You'll find that feeling beginning today when the 165th edition of the Mercer County Fair opens in Aledo.

Aside from the carnival rides, you'll find all the traditional trappings of a fair including 4-H activities, food competitions, beauty pageants, and tractor races.

Get the full list of events at the Mercer County Fair website.