Feel-good event

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Now that was fun!
A Midwest tradition unfolded this week with a celebration that marks the end of summer while also honoring our ag-based heritage. This year’s version of the Hamilton County Fair was unique in some ways, and very much the same in others, all by design.
The weather cooperated, for the most part, setting the stage for a nonstop itinerary of animal shows, entertainment, good food and fellowship. A lot of folks were exhausted by Sunday evening, but that too is part of the age-old tradition of a county fair. We work hard, we play hard, we deal with whatever the weather stirs up and enjoy an event that in many ways reflects our community’s character.
Hats off to the Hamilton County Ag Society, as well as the many, many volunteers who showed up in force for staging such a successful event. There was a whole lot of logistical set-up, tear down, cleaning up, food prep, etc. going on behind the scenes, which made it fun for fair-goers to enjoy a variety of activities over the four-day span. It’s hard to measure just how much effort it takes to pull this off every year, though it is very much appreciated.
And no fair is complete, of course, without a walk through the animal barns and various displays. As many years as I’ve seen it, I’m always struck by the sense of family and tradition as 4-H and FFA participants show their animals while moms, dads and younger siblings look on with pride. There is so much blood, sweat and tears reflected in those moments when grand champions are announced, as well as when first-time showmen survive their debut performance, it makes you feel good to be part of the experience.
Though it’s hard to track specific numbers, crowds for the main events, as well as smaller shows offered throughout the grounds, looked strong this year. Area folks have proven time and again that they like to hear engines roar and cars collide and there was plenty of that, but planners did a good job of bringing in new and different events as well. There was indeed something for everyone.
By Monday the grounds were almost bare and our community collectively turned the page toward fall, with school and that comes with it. But for four days we paused, we showcased our youth and livestock, we chowed down, had some fun and celebrated our rural roots, as we should.
Kurt Johnson

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