Impacting the Industry
The reasons why the county fairs in rural communities are important
By: Sarah Loomis
Coming from the production side of agriculture while also showing cattle, my dog and being highly involved with FFA, I have always supported the local youth in 4-H and FFA projects. Not only at the county level but at national level, these young individuals are able to showcase their talents and prove how hard they have worked over the past year. I hold a strong bond for those who want to help the younger generations, so they are able keep agriculture alive in the future.
What I am not as passionate about is watching this historical tradition in these small communities around America lose these fairs because of low participation in certain projects or not understanding the fair’s importance.
What seems like small fairs that host food venders, carnivals and judging contest brings people together from multiple backgrounds that create lifelong friends and fun. Life gets busy with schedules at work and school events, and the fairs are a place to have a staycation.
Those from the city enjoy bringing their families back to those local county fairs because their children can learn in a safe and fun environment. Those trips may spark new hobbies or interests that they will take home with excitement.
Asking questions should undoubtfully be a part of the fair experience. Stepping outside of comfort zones and trying new things will only increase knowledge. Having conversations provides that opportunity to meet new people as well. It’s a social event!
These fairs hold heritage and history, which has personal values to the communities surrounding the events. Thinking about how those in the rural towns came together many years ago to combine their interests to show others. Maybe it’s the gardening practices that your grandmothers taught you years ago or the bloodline of a goat family, the community has deep roots with 4-H or FFA.
I have seen it written many times that “county fairs are dying”. Along with that statement, I feel sicken that it could even be a possibility. What can you do to help? Become an exhibitor. Most do not realize that bring their talents and hobbies to a fair will boost involvement. Get involved by being a volunteer. Time is limited, as we all know, and helping out can create new
acquaintances and maybe even change something for the better. For the most part, fairs are strong and healthy, but some doors are being closed. A healthy community needs a place where the society is able to come together and continue to grow the youth off of the history that is so vital for all ages.