Monday, July 29, 2013

The County Fair

Reflection photograph
Miss M's picture entered in "Reflections"
Last week was our county fair.

It was a long week. The fair ran Wednesday through Sunday, but we are at the fairgrounds every day from Monday through Sunday. A few days we came home and it took my last bits of energy to quick shower and climb into bed. Some of our days were 12+ hours of being at the fair. Three of the days I worked at the farm stand there too. I'm beat. My goal today was to do as little as possible.

Petting Chickens
Letting kids pet the chickens
All that said, it was an awesome week! Last week was the culmination of work that my daughter has been working on since late last year {which means it was also the culmination of the nagging I began doing late last year ;-)}For many of her project areas, she has to bring one project to the fair - a poster board, a kit, something she made, etc. However, what people don't see at the fair, is her project areas come with a workbook that she has to work through. She is also supposed to do some giving back, interviews, workshops, etc, as we can. For example, one of her project areas is photography. She worked through the photography workbook, at two different events she volunteered to take pictures to share after, she read some photography books from the library and also attended a photography workshop. She could have, had she wanted to and we made it work out, gone to a museum to look at pictures, participated in a photography show, showcase her photos somewhere public, created a photography how-to tips to display somewhere, taught a friend what she learned, etc, etc. Basically, my point is, it's a lot of work. It's so much more than the two photographs she showed for 4H, and the four photographs she showed in open class. And I love it!

Grooming Cats board
Her cat grooming board
She meets with her club and they do things together. She picks her project areas (up to ten and each member picks their own as well). She works hard, she learns things. She has done experiments, interviews, giving back, and has learned a lot of things. She also builds confidence. There is some time management to be learned. We registered for the maximum ten projects this year. We showed in nine of them. It was a lot to juggle and we decided a few months ago to let one go knowing there simply wasn't time. Next year, I don't think she'll register for all 10 again, but maybe! If she does, she knows to start sooner.

My big thing is the confidence boost. My 10yo is the middle child. We haven't had any dramatic "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" moments in our house (thankfully), but I also get it's not always easy to be the middle child, especially when you struggle with some things that seem to come naturally to your siblings (though, that would be struggle if you were the oldest or the youngest too I think).

Paper Mache Bowl
Her paper mache project
At the moment, Miss M is the only one of my children doing 4H. My 7yo will join when he is old enough, but I think the projects he picks will be very different than what she picks. And let me tell you, her having this 4H, this thing that is so uniquely hers, is fabulous! It helps too that her 4H club is full of some pretty wonderful kids and parents too. I could go on and on about this, but the short version is: she loves 4H and I love 4H.

So last week was fair week. This is our second year participating. Last year we brought 4 projects for 4H. It was nice and easy. This year we brought 13 4H projects, 8 open class projects, and 2 chickens. There were boards, kits, framed pieces of art, a rock collection, and more. Half the projects were turned in on Monday, half Tuesday (also the day we brought the chickens) and the fair opened Wednesday. It was a busy week. Thankfully, it was not very hot (because that would have been hard on the chickens).

Now, being in the fair isn't about the ribbons, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't exciting to get some good ribbons! Miss M ended up with (for 4H)  4 class champions, and 1 reserve grand champion. In open class she had 3 first premiums, 1 third premium, 1 fifth premium, and one Judge's choice special award (the picture at the top of the post).

Chicken Judging
Chicken judging!
In addition to all of that, she learned so much! We had no clue what we were doing with our chickens when we first arrived. Next year, will be so much easier (in fact, I think we will end up bringing more than two). She got to run around and have fun with friends. She befriended some of the other exhibitors there. And when she could, she would pull the chickens out so visitors could pet them.

I am so grateful that 3 years ago, after visiting the same county fair with my mom, she came home and told me she wanted to join 4H. I'm so happy I picked up the phone and got her in it. 4H has been an amazing experience for her (and me!) so far and I think it will continue to do so.

Yellow Rosette
Her by her yellow rosette!
I love how all this hard work ends with the fair - the people, the food, the rides, the crowds, all of it - is just so fun! I'm not sure county fairs and 4H are appreciated as much as they used to be, but if your county fair hasn't happened yet, try to visit at least once. Stop by the animal exhibits, the 4H exhibits, the open class exhibits. Eat an elephant ear and a corn dog. Go listen to one of the bands play. Or see a pig race. Just go and have fun. I don't think you'll be disappointed. And next year, maybe encourage your child to participate in 4H or maybe you'll want to show something in open class. I highly recommend it =)


  1. Wow! Congratulations!

  2. Sound so lovely. Congrats to your daughter all the awesome learning, sharing and giving she's done!


Seeing your comments makes me smile! Thank you so much =)