Stephanie Pearce: Congratulations to fair kids — I applaud your hard work

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Stephanie Pearce

A fair family is a family of a different breed. They live for this one time a year where they spend a week or two before school starts running like crazy, making amazing memories. Fair families work hard together toward a common goal. It’s actually the 4-H motto: To make the best better. And that is their goal every year — to have a better product than the year before.

Fair families spend a lot of quality time together. These kids can’t accomplish their goals without the aid of their families. These kids need encouragement, teaching, rides, more encouragement, money, time and more encouragement. Some may not realize how much work these families put into the two weeks when fair is around. It’s an entire year of preparation for most.

The year before fair, kids are either thinking or picking out their projects already. Beef are bought in the fall the year before fair, which also begins the routines of feeding, grooming and working with the animals. General projects like sewing and woodworking are being planned and maybe started in this time as well. Meetings and conferences are being attended by kids and chaperoned by parents. Horse and dog kids are working with their animals on skills throughout the winter making sure they are perfect for summer.

By the time June rolls around, all livestock projects are in full swing. Horse and dog kids are practicing daily. Poultry and rabbit kids are handling their animals and practicing for showmanship. Meetings take up at least one night a month, but most kids are in multiple projects, which make the meetings add up.

Dog and horse kids meet twice to three times a week for a couple of hours each. Livestock kids are feeding and handling their animals two or more times a day, most for an hour each time. General projects are meeting at least once a week to finish up their books and projects. Hours and hours of summer are filled with hard work and dedication.

You rarely hear a fair kid tell their parents they are bored. They will be told to work on something regarding their project. They may also help around the house in exchange with parents for all the time and money they contribute to their projects. They have also been seen working jobs themselves to pay for their projects. There’s no time to slouch for a fair kid.

Then there are the parents who make sure the kids are taking care of their projects. Who may wake the kids up early before school to make sure their livestock is fed. They are the parents who feed when kids are away at conferences and sports. They are the parents who drive their child or children to several meetings, make sure they have the supplies they need, and give their time to make the best better. These parents don’t think they’re special for what they do; they just know this is what they need to do.

In the end, there’s a week or two of running. There’s emotional highs and lows with laughing and crying. There’s the water fights, the nights with friends in their campers, the dances and the vendor food. I equate fair to a wedding. You plan and work all year and then you have this climax of fair. On Sunday after the sale, you’re left cleaning up the party and left with awesome memories.

Congratulations to all the Fair Families who made it through this year. I have no doubt you’re already planning for next year.

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