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By Staff | Sep 23, 2011

Last week my wife and I made a trip that has become part of a fall ritual during one of the 10 or so days after Labor Day for the past several years.

We drove just over 100 miles straight west to Spencer to attend the Clay County Fair.

It is always the last fair we attend each year and because of its timing, it could be the last event of summer or possibly the first event of fall.

We travel there on one highway and return on another looking at crops, towns and farmsteads along the way.

It became the only fair my dad would attend because while it is a county fair, it is filled with everything agricultural and rivals a state fair in its scope.

For us, it has become a can’t-miss event and my sister now accompanies us because she has become a fan as well.

After our day at the fair last week, my wife and I were having breakfast the next day and talking about what we had seen at the fair. My wife said she realized that the whole fair was devoted to excellence.

The spirit of competition was strong and everyone was showing their best, whether it was displays of food, livestock or anything else.

My wife and sister had seen a display of entries of place settings for a dinner table where the entrants were using themes for their displays.

My wife was impressed by the many entries and the professionalism and eye appeal of the entries.

Isn’t that what all fairs are about? What we saw at the Clay County Fair was typical of every fair we attended this year and previous years. It was a showcase of the best of rural life.

I wrote earlier in the summer at the beginning of fair season that attending a fair is to see all the good that agriculture is, and especially our youth as represented by those wonderful members of 4H and FFA programs.

It is a story that is told in every county and state fair.

Obviously, I am one of agriculture’s cheerleaders and fairs show us at our best.

Agriculture has a great story to tell all year long, and a trip to the fair is to see the best of the best.

OK, fair season is now over and we will wait for next summer to once again attend, stroll, admire, watch and eat.

It is time to get down to the business of harvest. All those plans of the past year are going to be realized by seeing how full we can make our bins.

However, plans are being made for next year’s fairs. Dates are being set, entertainment is being chosen, and those who entered this year’s fair are thinking about their entries for next year.

Everyone will be a year older and a year wiser. Everyone will be looking for ways to improve this year’s entry because competition creates excellence and, as my wife so accurately saw, excellence is what the fairs are all about.

“See you at the fair” is more than a phrase. It is agriculture’s story.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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