|Photo from the Blue Hill Today Blog... and no, that's not me.|
I loved the county fair. When I was 7 (which is late- I believe starting age for 4-H is 5 or 6, and in some counties younger kids can enter open class) my parents enrolled me in 4-H and bought me 3 little black faced suffolk lambs. I fed and worked with them over the summer and very early one morning on a day in late July we loaded them into the back of the pickup (stock racks- look it up) and drove them to the county fairgrounds, where I checked them in, bedded their pen, and stomped around in shorts and irrigation boots for three days. It was free range parenting at it's best- in our little county my dad literally knew everyone. As long as our animals were fed, watered, and their bedding was kept clean we were allowed to do and go where we wanted (within reason, but you know what I mean). And I know the thought of that would make some parents gasp in horror, but since my parents knew everyone and there were adults all around the fairgrounds doing their own things (running the food stands, judging in the buildings, manning booths in the commercial building, setting up for the barbecue or rodeo...) someone was always nearby to keep us out of trouble.
This past week, as I may have mentioned (did I?), we've been "back home" in Nebraska/Kansas visiting our parents. After our stint at the lake we hopped over to my in-laws just in time for their fair to start. "My" fair was going on at the same time, 45 miles North, and I had every intention of making the trip, but sadly didn't... partly because there isn't enough time in the day, and partly because I know that things you built up in your head when you were young tend to disappoint you as an adult, either because they have changed or because they seemed different (bigger, flashier, more exciting) when you were younger. But my in-law's fair, while not as big, was enough to trigger nostalgia. The kids and I spent some time wandering through the animal barns. I sat in on the chicken show and learned a few new things. We watched almost all of the swine show where my youngest brother-in-law CLEANED UP. Izzy got second place in the kids pedal pull. We ate way too much bad food (which I will be paying for next week...). And, even though it was a different fair and they do things differently, something about pulled pork and the orientation of the rodeo arena to the rest of the grounds and walking between the two at dusk when it's still so hot that you should be miserable but you're not... it almost made me feel like I was back there again.
So, even though I know it will be different, I'm looking into entering some things in our county fair in Minnesota. At the very least I can enter some veggies and preserves, and they have a salsa contest I could try my hand at (even though I don't like my salsa that much...). I may even enter some chickens if I can discern whether or not I would be the only adult (or if I can talk Izzy into showing). Mostly I want to learn what a "good" chicken looks like and how mine measure up. And I want my kids to have the experience that I did.
Sadly I didn't take the camera to the fair with me, so I have no pictures to share other than a few of Izzy in the peddle pull.
Check out more at Homestead Revival's Barn Hop this week!