Todd Hale, director of public relations for the Steele County Free Fair, talked to some ladies from Congregational Church of Medford, the longest running booth at the fair. They have been at the fair since the mid-1950s. The booth has been at one time under the Grandstand, in a tent, also in the Industrial Building, where the SCFF Office is now. The booth is now in the Four Seasons Building.

Gloria Timm said that in the beginning it was voted on to have a booth at the fair because it would be a good money maker. It is one of their only fundraisers for the year and the money goes into the general fund of the church.

Janette Gallea said each year planning begins at the end of fair. The items in the booth are all handcrafted by members of the church. There are baby and full-sized quilts, knit dishrags, embroidered dishtowels and more.

Kay Marette told a story of being locked inside the building as a teen after the fair was done for the day. They climbed on a table and waved at people who figured out to unlock the door to let them out. Timm told a story of a man from Iowa who would come just to buy their quilts.

Deb Wilke and Marette are the organizers to get the booth set up and taken down with help, which they are thankful for.

The ladies of the church are also known to have fed the highway men who worked on the first leg of the freeway during the summer through October. They would bring the food, table and chairs out to the men. If there was rain, the workmen would come to the church and eat.

The ladies of the Congregational Church of Medford the longest-running booth at the Steele County Free Fair. They have been there since the mid-1950s.

Steele County Free Fair bear. Lisa Marie/Townsquare Media