I usually don't get super excited about county or state fair. I was in 4-H growing up, and I would go to fair just long enough to take my projects, participate in the pet show, and take part in the pie baking contest. One year I did the broiler project - having to raise and process 50 broilers. One year was enough for that.
I rarely walked through any parts of the fair besides where I needed to go. I really prefer to stay away from big crowds (unless it's a gathering of people I know or will get to know), and if I have to dodge piles of manure and smell animals, I would rather do that on a farm.
Even so, over the last number of years we have taken a handful of trips to the county fair and almost yearly trips to the state fair. State fair was something Ethan grew up doing with his dad each year, and he dreamed of being a fair kid hanging out with his livestock in the livestock barn. They made a full day of their trip, checking out all the fair had to offer - minus the food stands as they would retreat for an afternoon lunch at the car. Once we started our family, Ethan became excited about taking our kids. And although I really was not that interested in the fair experience, I did really like spending a day Ethan and the kids.
Now that our oldest has finished 4th grade, however, fair has taken on a new twist since he is also in 4-H. If you've listened to Ethan's podcast that includes Caleb as a guest, you might have caught that we spent more or less an entire week at the county fair mid July as Caleb took took in his projects and showed sheep, chickens, and rabbits, adding in the daily chores at the fair too. Even though we have made sure that what Caleb takes and shows reflects his work, Ethan can now be a "fair dad" in those barns even though he didn't get to be a "fair kid".
I do have to say, that fair is much more enjoyable when you have someone you know showing things there - especially when it is your kid. And I will admit that I really didn't mind hanging out at fair so much this year, and I did spend quite a bit of time in the livestock barns too.
And to also add a bit more draw for me, I discovered that there is a building previously hidden from me on the fair grounds for open class entries - a place where you can take various homemaking items to be judged for awards. I found out about this last minute, but I was able to dig through my closets and pantry to grab a few things to enter that I had worked on over the year, many of which received placings.
I didn't take a ton of things since I didn't know if my jars would be opened (and unable to be consumed after fair), and I didn't want to spend the money on ingredients for baked goods that we wouldn't get to eat either. Now I know though that jars aren't opened, that garden produce does not have to be fully ripe, and that you also get to take home 3/4 of each baked good once they have been judged. (And that pies go in 2 days after canned goods . . . something good to know so your crust stays nice!)
So here I am, just weeks after the fair, and I'm thinking about what all I can set aside to take to fair next year. Part of it is because it adds a little excitement to the mundane tasks of my day/year (I would have taken so many more canned goods if I knew they would have remained sealed.), and some of it is that it is fun to get a little bit of premium money which I have picked a purpose for (although there are lots of ways to save money at home, it's a bit harder to generate money.).
Still, I think the best part of county fair is the time spent with my family, and now also seeing our kids enjoy taking part in fair with their interests.
|Caleb's Livestock Awards for Sheep, Poultry, and Rabbits|
|Caleb's Projects and Awards|
|Hannah's 4-H Clover Kids (K-3rd grade) Projects and Recognitions|
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