Fair time: less work than fun
Just when I think things at The Ledger are slowing down a bit, allowing me to catch my breath, there is another event that needs photographic coverage. This past week that event was the Greater Jefferson County Fair.
From the 4-H horse show on Tuesday through Sunday night’s Demo Derby, I was expected to be, and enjoyed being, at the fair. This week and next involves considerably more time by several of The Ledger staff as we prepare to publish another review of the fair and results of the various competitions.
Don’t tell my boss, but covering the fair with my camera hardly seems like work. Wait a minute….this year it didn’t seem like work. In years past I have whined about being out in the 90-degree-plus heat, or the pouring rain for 4 days straight. In either situation I hardly looked the part of a professional as I dripped, quite literally, of either rainwater or sweat. The weather this year was much more comfortable, and aside from the rain Saturday, which didn’t last all day, and the storm on Sunday night, one could hardly complain.
It was great for the kids who participated, and even better for their livestock. Tempers were easier to hold in check, and animals were more cooperative. As stated previously, my job was easier and didn’t even seem like work.
For those who have never attended a county fair, or those who haven’t been to one in years, you are missing a great event. There is nothing quite like a fair, from the midway, to the grandstand events, to the petting zoo, to the youthful exhibitors showing just how hard they have worked to get their projects finished and ready for judging.
4-H and FFA kids spend a considerable amount of time not only working on their projects, but keeping their record books too. It takes self-discipline, and sometimes the parental kind as well, to stay focused. Whether it is a calf that needs to be groomed, fed, watered, broke to halter and led, or a food, woodcraft, sewing or any other project, many hours are required to bring that project to the point that it is ready for judging.
None of this would happen without the MANY volunteers who serve on the fair board, become 4-H leaders, or parent the youth involved. Most young people who show their projects need the help of their parents to get the project to the fair, not to mention the support parents give their children as they work on their projects.
That said, the fair is more fun than work. One only has to look around at the happy faces during fair week to realize that it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. This year included the usual goings on plus a few new wrinkles added to the mix.
The water splash-off was cancelled due to the cooler than normal temperatures, but there were other fun things to do. There was a bubble blowing contest, a watermelon seed spitting contest, kiddie pedal pull, queen contest, and the ever-popular petting zoo. Children of all ages, from tiny toddlers to octogenarians love holding and petting the furry, feathery or hard-shelled (turtles) critters, with some of them taking home a new pet when all is said and done. Of course, we can’t forget the midway and the magic show, grandstand fun and the stage shows.
Perhaps the favorite part of any fair is FAIR FOOD! I know there are some things I only get once a year, like corn dogs, cotton candy and funnel cakes. The FFA and 4-H booths put out good food too, although it is no doubt more nutritious than the above mentioned.
There were some tears when the top prize went to someone else, there was a mistake in the routine, or an animal that had become almost like family had to be sold, but for the most part, the Greater Jefferson County Fair is a great time to see your neighbors, celebrate youth and just have fun.
If you missed it, you will just have to wait until next year for a chance to have a great time at the fair. See you there.
Julie Johnston is The Ledger photographer.