When Maybell resident Georgia McIntyre thinks of the Moffat County Fair, she thinks of the valuable lessons she and her family have gained from the 4-H experience.
The 2005 fair starts tonight with the open class horse show, and continues through Aug. 13.
"I don't think we've missed a fair for 20 years or more," McIntyre said. "It's where we go visit everybody and see all the projects they do."
Her grandchildren mark the third generation to take part in the organization, after she and her husband, Sam, were Moffat County members in the 1950s. McIntyre said working on the ranch taught her children responsibility and leadership, and 4-H was a way for them to have fun with their projects.
"It teaches them the basics of ag culture and how to take care of animals," she said. "And it even teaches them how to handle money.
"They don't really make money at it but they gain so much experience."
The youngsters' months of preparation come to fruition this week as they groom their livestock and make the finishing touches on record books.
Adults also participate in the fair, showing canned goods, quilt projects and even homemade beer and wine in the fairgrounds pavilion.
"I probably, myself, like the livestock shows the best because that's more where my interests lie," fairgrounds manager Bill Sixkiller said as he prepared for the fair Wednesday.
He and other crew members, as well as Moffat County Jail inmates, shoveled horse manure left over from the O-Mok-See championships last week, set up judge's stands and put out picnic tables for fairgoers to enjoy.
Sixkiller has seen many fairs come and go and said his schedule stays hectic before, during and after the week.
"It seems like it comes and goes and you say, 'I didn't get to see much of that,'" Sixkiller said.
"It doesn't seem like we have enough time to slow down and look at much."
Maybe that's because organizers pack the fair with entertainment possibilities, like the Yampa Valley Boys, African dance troupe from Steamboat Springs and silly rodeo shows.
There also are opportunities for bingo and dancing, and kids have plenty of fun planned with an inflatable playground, Smokey Bear and turtle races.
Various vendors will also be on hand with a number of sandwiches, drinks and snacks for fairgoers.
With so much happening at the fair, said Moffat County Colorado State University extension director Elisa Shackelton, everyone's sure to find something that piques their interest.
"I think it's growing," she said. "Every year it's getting better."
Michelle Perry may be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org