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Summer has a way of flying away

I hate to see the fireworks ending another 4th of July. Not that I don’t appreciate the spectacular aerial display, it just makes me realize how quickly summer is disappearing.

Independence Day is “summer hump time” for me. After that the rest of summer just flies by. Before you know it, it’s state fair time (and school).

It’s not fair (pardon the pun). A million things to do each summer and it disappears faster than your tan.

What really gets to me is how you start reading about the fair before the smoke of the Fourth has cleared the air. It’s almost like we are forgetting the rest of July.

The fact that the fair opens on Aug. 7 this year makes summer seem that much shorter. Next thing you know the fair will open on the 5th of July.

I happened upon the latest Iowa State Fair website and was urged to “enjoy the unparalleled grandeur – full of amazing things to see and amusing things to do. Witness jaw-dropping entertainment and fantastic talent … .”

Wow! Sounds like organizers have some really big shows planned for all to see. Trouble is, what they call jaw-dropping entertainment and fantastic talent is a far cry from what the folks attending the 1936 Iowa State Fair witnessed.

An advertisement urging everyone to attend that year’s state fair sported this eye catching headline: HUMAN BAT AT IOWA STATE FAIR!

Now how’s that for an eye catcher? How many human bats have you seen flying around (except in the movies). They’re nearly impossible to find even in 2014.

The advertisement goes on to state: “Iowa’s latest aviation thriller – Roland Kumzak of Milford, Iowa, who soars through the skies on bat-like wings attached to his arms, will be brought to the Iowa State Fair to make daily flights for exposition visitors.

“Kumzak leaps from a plane at 10,000 feet and, with only his homemade wings for support, he glides, loops the loop and performs other sensational flying feats before coming to the ground. He will make a flight every afternoon at the fair.”

Man, I wish I’d been around to see Old Roland fly! It still sounds pretty impressive, even 78 years later in what we refer to as the space age.

I looked back through several newspapers from 1936 and never saw anything more about Roland and his flights. Sure hope he made it!

(Ed Rood is the former publisher of Tri-County Times. He and his wife, Sharon, live near Cambridge.)

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