Howdy from the HillTop!
The end of the summer marks so many different things: prepping for high yield harvests, preparing for back to school, and in many counties across the country…the annual county fair. I have so many memories of going to the county fair with my family. I learned all the different breeds of cows from the fair (remember, dairy farmer’s kid), learned that lots of kids in 4-H earned money for the year by selling their animals, what kind of tractor is acceptable (Red. Only Red. International Fans here) and of course love of small town life.
If you have never ventured to your local county fair, I highly encourage you try it this year. Even better than simply visiting, consider partaking. Each county has something just a little bit different to offer.
County fairs offer competitions for farmers, of all sizes, to compete in a variety of areas; including animals, crops and products (milk, eggs, and honey) against each other. Gardeners can compete vegetables, fruit and flowers to see who has the greenest thumbs. Local artists enter paintings, photographs and artist items they create themselves. There are rides and competitions for kids to enjoy. Not to mention concerts, tractor pulls and school bus derbies.
Yes, to those of you who were not raised attending the annual fair, you are probably thinking, why would anyone want to do this? I can tell you: fun, food and bragging rights.
There are many ways you can support your local county fair.
First, you can attend. Simple enough, go and check out what there is to see. Your money spent on an entrance ticket is ultimately benefiting the county. To go beyond that, local businesses benefit from you attending, whether you buy items from their stalls or find a new vendor to utilize in the future.
There are so many exhibits to see. I grew up in a farming family, so to this day the tractors and animals are some of my favorites. My kids want to play games and ride rides, but not until mom checks out what she wants to see. FFA (Future Farmers of America) and 4-H competitions are going on all throughout the week, and if you attend the last day, the animal auction is always interesting to watch.
Attending is the simplest way you can enjoy the county fair.
Advertise or Become a Vendor
Second, if you have a local business you can advertise in the program or sponsor the county fair. This is a win win. People learn about you through the advertising, yet you are supporting a local event showing your community support. Being a vendor at the fair is another option for your business. Depending on your product, you either have a week of high sales or a whole new list of leads.
Last you could do my favorite form of support: Enter an item or yourself for competition!
There are so many areas of competition within a county fair. Not only are there races, food eating contests, animal competitions, you can compete in gardening, wine making, crops, and more. We have been entering items for the past several years. Our kids even enter in some of the art competitions for the youth. It’s a great confidence boost and an even bigger reason for us to enjoy visiting for the fair.
For items that place in the top three in any competition, there are typically Premiums (payouts). Mind you, they are not a lot, but bragging rights are all the glory you need. I’ve been entering my Black Raspberry Jelly for two years now, this current year is my third. My first year, I got second place. Now though, I get to say that I have the best Black Raspberry Jelly in Lawrence County because as of last year, I do!
As simple as this option seems, I highly recommend if you plan to enter, review the Premium Book. It has all the rules and regulations to enter items. Honestly, items are required onsite much sooner than people think.
Gone so often are the days of yesterday year. But when you go to the local county fair, you almost feel like you are stepping back in a time when people enjoy the simpler life. You see familiar faces, you can spend the day in one place enjoying time as a family and you can learn so much about your county.
Go visit your county fair! Your family will love it. You may be surprised by what you learn and see!