It may be wintry and cold outside, but a lot of schoolchildren and other people are still thinking about the 1988 Utah State Fair, held last September in Salt Lake City.

School students are still sending in entries for an essay contest sponsored by the fair, and teachers and others are continuing to send in letters expressing appreciation for the annual exposition.Shamby Cryl McAffee, an eighth-grader at South Summit Middle School, liked the exhibits but was most impressed by some of the people who visited the fair.

In an essay, the student penned these ideas: "It wasn't the exhibits which I enjoyed most. It was looking at a special group of people enjoying the exhibits. I noticed how their hearts went out to the animals. It made me feel warm inside. I also watched them enjoy themselves during the live entertainment. They had a certain twinkle in their eyes. Thanks to the Utah State Fair, the mentally retarded can get out and enjoy themselves."

Mary Godfrey, a fifth-grade teacher at Forbes Elementary School, American Fork, wrote the State Fair Committee:

"My fifth-grade students and I really enjoyed touring the Utah State Fair. The students have written essays or poems about their feelings and activities of the fair. We are grateful for having a State Fair to learn about our famous state. We appreciate the organization and cleanliness of the fair. Also, we hope the fair will continue to be a part of Utah. Thank you."

State Fair Director Jackie Nokes said she is thrilled with the hundreds of essays and letters.

"I think we get more letters about our animals, vegetables and flowers than about anything else. The fair is really one of the greatest opportunities for sharing in the state," Nokes said.

She said winners of the essay contest will be announced within the next two weeks and that work is progressing on restoration of Exhibit Building No. 2, near the southeast corner of the fairgrounds.

The restoration project is scheduled for completion June 1. Tim Thomas of Thomas Petersen Hammond & Associates is the architect for the project, and McCullough Engineering and Contracting is the prime contractor.