Monday, July 29, 2013

Support Your County Fair

Agricultural fairs have a rich history in the development of agricultural practices in the United States.  It's also always been a social affair to meet with family, friends and neighbors over a central theme, agriculture.

"The Greene County Agricultural Society is first mentioned in the Commissioners’ Journal in June 1833. It was through an order by the Commissioners that, “...notice be given in the Xenia Territory...that there will be a meeting held at the Court House in Xenia on the last Friday in June for the purpose of organizing an Agricultural Society to be entitled the Greene County Agriculture Society." Officially, the Society was organized on July 30, 1834.

While the State Legislature made fairs possible in 1837, the first recorded fair was held in and around the Court House square in 1839, which makes the 2013 Greene County Fair, the 174th one to be held. The Court House became too small to house all the displays of produce and needle work, so, during the second year of existence, the Society leased land near Xenia on Columbus Pike where the fair was held for the next 13-14 years."

This is a typical description of the evolution of county fairs in Ohio.  If you have followed me for four years now in this blog, you know my affection with the county fair.  It was where I learned to exhibit and increase the quality of my passion, production agriculture.  It is great to see grand children already enjoying the same thing I did.

I love to judge at county fairs.  Judging skills require study, experience and quick thinking that is valuable in any career today.  Today I judged produce at the Greene County Fair, something I really enjoy.  I have a feeling we may lose our county fairs or trim them down to try and keep them profitable.  All profits usually go right back into expanding a fair and making it better.

If you like something like the produce or flower or photography exhibits, let your fair board know.  It would make a great "letter to the editor" for your community to see.  I enjoyed these shows before I ever was asked to be a judge of one.  They are that educational to me.  4-H is a fantastic organization and yes I got my start in 4-H in the third grade.  I expanded and developed that knowledge through FFA.  Some fairs only have 4-H shows but I see the value in both junior and senior fair exhibits.  The whole family needs to be involved if they want to be.

Produce is a basic foundation of fairs that should never be lost.  I hope it never will be.  Every citizen has an opportunity to grow something and enter it no matter where they live or what they do for a living.  Food production is vital to our society and every citizen ought to be involved in it, even if it is in a small way.  If you don't like growing food, at least you can enjoy the work of those who do.

That's my take on county fairs, what is yours?  Let's all write a letter to the editor and contact our fair board about what we LIKE about our county fair.  They hear enough complaints.

Ed Winkle

4 comments:

  1. Our fairboard was, for years, complosed of a bunch of wannabe's. As a result, they sort of turned our local fair into am laughing-stock.

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  2. Great comments about County Fairs. Holly Spangler has a nice blog about them as well at http://farmprogress.com/blogs-ode-fair-board-member-7433

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  3. Thanks Ron, that was an interesting blog.

    Gorges, the wannabe's of life have created quite a mess.

    I hope the fairs all had good attendance today. It sure is beautiful weather for people and animals but we need all the 86 degree days we can muster to add up those GDD's!

    Ed

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