Support for county fairs continues to amaze

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The older I get, the more I like the county fair. There are lots of reasons why, and I’ll try to limit them here, for obvious reasons. Nobody wants to hear every detail, but there are a lot of really good things that only occur at the fair.

Now, the Farm and Dairy has been publishing fair news for weeks, so I’m not going to pretend that our little old Noble County Fair is the only one around. But every fair is unique in its own way, and, at the same time, just like all the rest.

Each fair has rides for the kids, grandstand events, musical entertainment, and fair food (and I’ll get back to that later). What makes the fairs such a family event is the junior fair and all of the good lessons that each participant learns during the course of the summer, as they work their way toward the fair.

What I realized at our fair is that there is no other way, no other event that is held, that I, or any soil and water employee could have contact with as many people in such a short time.

Reaching out

Our district owns a building on our fairgrounds, and even though it’s quite a task to get it ready each year, the number of fairgoers who pass through to see our displays makes it all worthwhile. We usually incorporate a contest of some kind into the display, and that is normally a big hit as well (if the questions aren’t too awful hard).

What I like the most, though, is the opportunity to deal with folks on a one-to-one basis in a very relaxed atmosphere. During each day, we keep an eye on the displays at the building, and old friends, and new ones as well, file through to talk about everything from the weather, to how the kids and grandkids have done with their exhibits.

Asking questions

But they also bring questions with them. We talk about crop conditions, water development, livestock, hay stockpiles, wildlife food plots, pond building or repairing, forestry, invasive species, pipelines and almost any natural resource question that you can think of. Folks that are normally too busy to find time to stop by the office are willing to visit for extended periods at the fair.

There is no other week of the year when we talk to so many people. And it isn’t just during work hours.

Enjoying the experience

My sweetie and I ate fair food every evening, watched some livestock shows, and the rodeo and truck pull, and answered more questions. I realize that everyone comes to the fair for their own reasons, and since my kids are way beyond the age to exhibit, and my grandkids are too young, now is my time to just relax and enjoy.

I also know that I can’t write about our fair without braggin’ at least a little bit. Noble County is one of the smallest in the state, by population. If you don’t count the prisoners at NCI, we only have about 12,000 residents. But when it comes time to support our youth at the junior fair sale, I think we can compare with anyone.

Some 492 animals were sold Sept. 5, for $529,906 — the second year in a row to top a half-million dollars. Each and every exhibitor and buyer should be proud of the support that was shown.

I can’t wait until next year. …

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