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County Fair Experiences

For a girl raised in a small town the county fair was always the thing to do in the summer. I remember being part of the 4-H experience and learning to make baking powder biscuits, or creating ceramic pieces, or building a bird house. The county fair was the culmination of the hard work all year and you were able to earn ribbons and sometimes even money for entering items into the fair.

When I was old enough to start working in 4-H I became involved in the cooking and other activities to create something to enter. Each year it seemed we had a theme and a project to perfect that would be entered into the fair. I also did other things on my own that I would also enter into the fair. One year we made baking powder biscuits. They had to be exact in the size and shape and the consistency. Three biscuits were placed on a plate and were judged as part of our 4-H group. Another year we painted and decorated ceramic pieces that were fired and then turned in for judging.

I also did lots of craft work on my own and turned these in for judging. Today I still turn in craft work to be judged from cross-stitch projects to crochet, and I bake items for judging. My favorite memory was three years ago when I brought my sweet petals coffee bread into the home economics building to be judged. Once it was labeled, the fair helpers told me to pick out a spot on the table to display it. I did that and when my husband and I came back to see if I had won a ribbon, well the coffee bread had magically disappeared. Being somewhat short, I couldn’t see the top shelf and the judges had moved my coffee bread because it had won a “best of show” ribbon, so it was displayed in another place! What a surprise.

Through the years my husband and I have entered our garden bounty and our flowers into the county fair. We have taken all colors of ribbons and we have enjoyed the process of growing the plants and hoping against all hope that the flowers would continue to bloom in time for our county fair. It’s about outsmarting Mother Nature and hoping that you can coax your plants to do what you want/need them to do in time for entry into the fair.

As I have grown older, well the county and state fairs hold a great deal of pleasure for me. My niece and nephew raise pigs and show them at the fairs and then sell them at auction. That has been a great experience for them and for me. Watching them raise these animals from small pigs that weigh in about 50 pounds when they first get them and then seeing them at the fair showing their skills in showmanship as they control their animal in the ring, and showing the animal for its quality is unparalleled. They become so poised and so able, it’s really amazing.

I have even been a participant in helping with the auction and with the classes the 4-H kids have in judging animals. It’s been a blast to work with the kids and see them grow, become so poised, and handle things well, even when they sell their animal for market. The county fair is a great experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime!