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A Grand Fair

July 27, 2018
By Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

Those of you who know me know that I have a soft spot in my heart for the Palo Alto County Fair. It dates back to my days in 4-H, when I?was a member of the Walnut Boosters 4-H club, showing swine and beef.

A lot of water has run under the bridge since those days, and I've seen a lot of changes to the fair, the fairgrounds, and in the youth who now exhibit their projects for a few short days every July.

Add in the fact that I was asked to join the Fair Board back in 1994, and I?guess there's another reason why I?have such strong feelings for the fair.

The 2018 edition of the Palo Alto County Fair wrapped up for the most part Sunday afternoon after a four-day run, and the fortunes of weather were with us. After sweltering a year ago in the high 90's, we were treated to comfortable days of upper 70's and low 80's, with a little touch of rain on Thursday morning and fair weather after that. Cooler temperatures made for happier livestock and exhibitors alike!

While the major emphasis of the fair is to showcase the exhibits and projects of our county 4-H and FFA youth, open Classes allow people of all ages to participate as well, making the fair an event that bridges generations.

I always sit back every year at the fair and take note of the names of exhibitors who come into the show pavilion, and I?find it so interesting that I'm now seeing the children of people who I watched show livestock when I first joined the Fair Board, and in some cases, grandchildren of people that were showing livestock when I was showing my animals.

To me, that proves that the love of our rural lifestyle is very strong and runs deeply through generations. And it also gives one a feeling of satisfaction and optimism to see the younger set, the 'Clover Kids', participating in events such as the Buck and Bottle Lamb, Goat, or Calf shows. Walking through the livestock barns, it brings a smile to your face to see a six or seven-year old sitting in the straw next to their bucket calf, having a little conversation with the animal, as if it were their pet dog or cat.

Another aspect of the fair is the opportunity to gather and make new friends and renew old acquaintances, regardless of age. There are so many opportunities for families to come and spend a day at the far and find educational things, as well as entertaining things, to do for a day.

This year, the Fair hosted a very poignant display, "Remembering the Fallen,"?a tribute to those Iowans who paid the ultimate price in the war against Terrorism since 9/11. The display panels of service men and service women provoked emotion and reflection for those who saw the display.

The Country School House hosted a display on World War I and also hosted 4-H Communications Projects and events.

The schoolhouse also provides a nostalgic glimpse back into our own rural history of township schools right in our own county.

And then there was the food. Ah, the food. Pie and ice cream, freshly prepared burgers and the evening barbeque suppers.

It seems so impossible that four days of activities flashed by so quickly, after weeks and months of planning and preparation, but through the efforts of exhibitors, their families, the Iowa State Extension and Outreach staff and the fair board members, the Fair had to be considered a success once again.

Now, let the planning begin for 2019!



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