Fairs see importance for 4-H/FFA youth

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Clearly this year’s modified Great Jones County Fair will something new for everyone involved.

     The Wyoming Fair has also been forced to change a few things.

     Both fairs in Jones County made tough decisions this year, all in an effort to comply with the current regulations in Iowa concerning COVID-19. That said, it’s great to see they’re still allowing area 4-H and FFA youth to showcase a year’s worth of hard work and dedication with their livestock and exhibits.

     The community is used to experiencing five days of the fair; those of us at the Express were used to seven days. Based on preliminary talks with the GJCF powers that be, it appears that this year’s fair will be nine days. Those nine days will consist of livestock judging and F.A.S.T. judging.

     These youth put in so much work to prepare for the fair, whether it’s working with their animals or putting the finishing touches on their F.A.S.T. projects. They work hard to meet every deadline to qualify to show on time. It’s only right that they get to demonstrate the effort they’ve put into getting ready for this year’s fairs.

     Kudos to both the GJCF and Wyoming Fair for coming together with their collective governing boards to find a solution that still allows the kids to take center stage. It definitely was not an easy decision to make, knowing some people would understand, yet others would be upset knowing crowd-pleasers like concerts and food vendors and track events were cancelled.

     And while the livestock judging is still taking place at both fairs, there will be some strict regulations in place.

     It goes without saying that the youth will have a very different experience this summer at the GJCF. Some are calling it “show and go.” This means the 4-H/FFA families will come in the same day as their scheduled judging, unload their animal(s) from their trailers, and show shortly after. Then, following the judging, they’ll load their animals back on the trailer and leave the fairgrounds. No animals will be allowed to stay overnight in the barns.

     A recent 4-H family I spoke to said this year’s fair definitely will not be the same when it comes to visiting with other 4-H families in and around the barns. In fact, the barns will be pretty quiet this year.

     While there will be some give-and-take this year at the fair, the bottom line is that the youth will be rewarded with the fair experience they so rightly deserve. And for them, that’s the biggest reward…


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