County Fair: Bringing Communities Together

Barbara Stockebrand. K-State Extension Agent. Submitted photo.

The County Fair is an exciting time for 4-H and FFA members and the surrounding community.  It is an opportunity to showcase the handiwork they have made and show the animals they have worked with for months leading up to the fair season.

Through their various projects with these youth programs, the members have “learned by doing.”  They have learned how to work with others, learned to make decisions, and take responsibility to complete their projects.  At the county fair, their projects are judged on their quality of workmanship, ingenuity, and skills learned throughout the project.

While competition is an important part of the fair, the real experience for these youth members lies in competing to better their own skills.  It is exciting to win ribbons and trophies, but sometimes the lessons learned by those who don’t win are the most valuable.  Not only are important things learned about their projects, they learn more about themselves.  Growth takes place by learning from mistakes.  Being a good sport when you don’t quite make the mark you would have liked, is often one of the best life lessons that can be learned.

Sometimes we forget that the County Fair is not just for the youth.  Most of our county fairs offer an open class division with divisions similar to those offered for 4-H and FFA – open to all ages.  Some county fairs allow open class entries from adjacent counties.  This is a great way for adults to show off their talents and directly participate in the county fair.

One of the take-aways for county fair spectators is a better sense of the talent and creativity of those around you.  I’m always amazed with the originality and intricate work our youth and adults bring to the area fairs.

The county fair brings locals together for a celebration of their community and offers something for everyone.  It is a unique experience that can really bring out the best in communities.

The Southwind Extension District fairs will be taking place this month.  Bourbon County begins the circuit in Fort Scott on July 16 and runs through July 23.  Woodson County’s fair in Yates Center also starts July 16 and continues through July 20.  Neosho County fair in Erie takes place July 21-July 25.  Allen County fair in Iola is slated for July 28-July 31.  For individual county events and rules, check out the county fair books online at www.southwind.ksu-edu.

See you at the fair!

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