Co-Authors of Plank Road Summer at Racine County Fair

Hilda and Emily Demuth, co-authors of Plank Road Summer, a wonderful middle-grade historical novel, will be appearing at the Racine County Fair on Saturday, August 1.

Why we’re excited: the culminating event in the chapter-book Plank Road Summer (Crickhollow Books, May 2009, $13.95, paperback) is . . . the first Racine County Fair! It was held in the early 1850s just west of the Mather Inn (one of the key places in the book).

(The Mather Inn and nearby McEachron farm were right on the Racine & Rock River Plank Road that carried farmers’ wheat and hay, wool and other produce, by the wagonload to the Lake Michigan harbor in Racine.)

Like the county fair itself, Plank Road Summer celebrates the community spirit and the rich heritage of the pioneer Midwest. It’s the story of two girls and their friendship in the summer of 1852, when the plank road was also a route for the Underground Railroad, helping runaway slaves from the south escape to freedom in Canada across the Great Lakes.

To meet the authors and get an autographed copy of Plank Road Summer, visit their tent at the Racine County Fair on Saturday, Aug. 1. It will be on the northeast corner of Pollie Drive and Kreuziger Lane, near the Case exhibit.

(Saturday is also J.I. Case Day at the fair. For other events and directions, see the Racine County Fair website).

The Demuth sisters will be there on Saturday from 12 to 5 pm. Along with book signings and sales, they are hosting family activities, including wool-carding on an antique drum carder, a bit of live old-time fiddle music, and a display on Racine County history.

Come on down to the fair! Step right up! Enjoy the rides, the 4-H exhibits, the tractor pull, the country music by Sara Evans . . . and meet the authors of an exciting novel for kids about county fairs, pioneer life, plank roads, fugitive slaves . . . and more!

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