altOne of my fondest memories of summer was our town’s Tri-County Fair. As a child, my sister and I worked hard to break dairy heifers to lead in order to show them at the local fair. We recently took our own children to the fair in Benton County, Ark. We attended the fair with my brother-in-law. Our boys participated in a mutton busting event and afterward we strolled through all of the exhibit buildings.

Nathan’s brother regaled the kids with stories of his past fair project entries. After looking at all of the entries, the kids decided they wanted to enter some things in our own Washington County Fair. The next day, I went to the local feed store and let the kids pick up a copy of the fair book.

They thumbed through the list of categories and our dining room quickly became an arts and crafts studio. The creativity and mess took over for a few weeks.

On Saturday, my husband was out of town at a sales meeting. I loaded up our highlighted fair book, boxes of entries and four eager kids in my car and we headed to the Washington County Fairgrounds.

The fair wasn’t set to start for a few more days but I was impressed with the number of volunteers who had turned out to take entries and set up this massive event. We started in the horticulture building and thankfully I ran into a dear friend who guided me through the entry process. We looked like a clown car unloading all of our stuff and it was nice to have a familiar face to direct us.

The kids entered their cut flowers and garden vegetables, and I entered some pickles and salsa just for fun. We then headed to another building to enter sewing and art projects. The number of entry tables and categories was seemingly endless. There was a sweet volunteer at the head table who looked through each of the kids’ treasured entries. She patiently directed me on the division and class they could be entered into.

I felt totally disorganized and a little bit embarrassed, but each volunteer was wonderfully gracious.

After everything was entered and delivered, the kids wanted to walk around to see how their items would be set out for display for judging the following week. Once they were satisfied they’d seen everything they needed to see we headed out to grab lunch. By the day’s end, one of the sweet volunteers called me to tell me I had entered a quart jar of pickles.

In their haste to enter them, they realized the fair only takes pints. She said they’d been admiring them all day and they looked delicious. She told me a blue ribbon would’ve paid $3 and she’d give me that if they could just pop them open and try them.

I was cracking up laughing! I told her to open them up and enjoy them for all their hard work doing entries that day. I said I’d get my jar back on pick up day. I learned a lot for next year; I need to be more organized and read the fair book more closely prior to entry day! I sincerely appreciate the volunteers from our county fair who helped us navigate the process. It takes a village, neighbor.


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