After you read my last paragraph, you may say to yourself, “Haven’t I read this before?”
The answer is, “Yes, you have.”
I write about fair season at this time every year because I believe it is that important and it is time for my annual reminder.
With June 21 behind us, summer is officially here.
In the weeks to come between now and fall, county, regional and state fairs will be held.
Those fairs are popular and have much entertainment to offer with displays, events, shows, and, of course, lots to eat, all under a beautiful sky on warm days, if the weather cooperates.
So, be sure to attend a fair and, if possible, get to more than one because they are not all alike. Fairs are like people, each with its own personality.
Now all the things I have described so far you know because what I have written is pretty much the definition of a fair.
But this is the main point I want to make. Do not go to the fair without taking time to observe what is happening in the livestock barns.
Not only do the barns have prize-winning livestock, there you will see our prize-winning youths.
The 4-H and FFA programs that teach young people about aiming for a goal and working towards it, help create the very people we want to be employees, family members, educators and community leaders.
You will know them when you see them, wearing shorts or jeans, a T-shirt stained with who knows what and probably rubber boots on their feet.
They will be holding a garden hose squirting water on a cow, pig or horse or using a curry comb to groom that animal that is probably within hours of being in a show ring.
Before and after the show ring competition, there are chores to do from feed and water to keeping stalls and pens clean.
In the show ring, both the animal and its handler are looking their best. Grooming is not limited to the animal as the 4-H or FFA member is wearing a clean shirt, probably fresh jeans, and hair neatly combed.
Their entry is led, herded, or controlled in some way so the judge can evaluate the merits of that animal.
The tension of the show ring can be seen on the entrant’s faces as each is hoping for a blue ribbon and if they dare, the coveted purple best of show ribbon.
Months of preparation come together for these brief minutes when the judge decides.
The intensity of the competition is the same whether the animal is a chicken, a rabbit, or a dairy or beef cow.
While what I am describing centers around livestock and a show ring, the same thing is happening in other buildings where projects from restoring an old tractor to baking a loaf of bread or a photograph capturing a second of time are all being judged.
These wonderful young people are a testament to the teachers, leaders and parents who are instilling in them responsibility and pride in their accomplishments.
So, get to at least one fair, because it will be another year before you can do it again.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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