4-H Why I love the county fair

Polk County Fair, 4-H

Our club’s 4-H booth at the County Fair. It will be filled with the kids’ projects after judging. Unless the judge holds the exhibit back and promotes it to the State Fair. Then it goes in a special exhibit area.

I grew up thinking that the State Fair was a big deal. We visited every year with my grandmother. Her grandfather parked cars at the fairgrounds, so her family always attended free while she was young. And they got a sweet parking spot (where the handicapped spots are now in the north lot). She loved the experience of the Fair. We always went home with black walnut saltwater taffy. We always went through the Ag Building and the DNR Building. And we went to places that she had never seen, too.

I have exhibited at the State Fair a couple times; my older daughter has, too. And gotten ribbons. But the State Fair is a little like disciples and Jesus. When I think of disciples, I tend to think of the BIG ones — the Twelve Apostles. Even though everyone can be a disciple, the term just makes it seem a little unattainable.

Then I decided to put a spin on that idea after my youngest child joined 4-H and began participating in the County Fair.

The State Fair is like the apostle level of competition. Everyone from around the state competes. On the other hand, the County Fair is very accessible to competition, like a Joe Schmoe disciple like myself could handle. Anyone can enter Open Class competitions. 4-H kids can compete with each other. FFA kids compete with each other. They can be promoted to the State Fair. Competition can be stiff, but here’s the spin —

County Fair is a pre-test for the State Fair! The State Fair can be a do-over!

I want to encourage city folks to learn about their county fair and attend it. I always learn something new and interesting at state and county fairs. And 4-H teaches very practical skills to kids — Robert’s Rules, record keeping, prioritizing, competition, and teamwork.

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