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Bureau County Fair still a place to make memories

Young people do a fine job in the show ring

Nita Wyatt
Nita Wyatt

Did you attend the Bureau County Fair this year? I did, and I have to share some of my feelings about things I saw and how I felt about the fair.

I had not attended the fair for two or three years. There was no particular reason for my not attending, no bad feelings, no unhappy thoughts — life just got in the way, and I wasn’t able to attend.

This year, I visited the fair both early and late on Saturday. Before 8 a.m. on Saturday, my husband and I took our grandson, Jon, to the swine barn to get his pig weighed before the swine judging on Sunday.

Early morning at the fairgrounds is a peaceful place when compared to the noise and lights of nighttime. In the early morning, there are no corn dogs cooking, there are no elephant ears frying, there are no games, there is very little sound.

No sounds on the midway, at least. The sounds come only from the barns — the cattle barns, the chicken barn, the swine and sheep barn. The sounds you hear are the sounds of the farm, some of the sounds I grew up with.

Jon did manage to get his pig weighed before he, and we, had to move on to other Saturday activities, JFL football, oil change for our car, etc. We would return to the fair.

Beautiful evening

Saturday evening, we made our way back to the fair to visit some exhibits, eat some “fair food,” visit with friends, and enjoy some music in the hospitality building.

It was a beautiful evening, and the number of visitors at the fair was impressive. I haven’t seen lines so long for food, lemonade and rides for many years.

It was a really fun evening, enjoyed by everyone we saw. A big thank you to the person (whoever you are) who turned in our grandson’s wallet to the secretary’s office. Makes me very happy to live in an area of good citizens. Not only was his wallet turned in, but everything inside (including cash) was intact. Aren’t we lucky to live where we do?

My visits to the fair did not end on Saturday night this year. We returned on Sunday morning to witness the swine judging. Have you ever been to animal judging at either the 4-H or county fair? It is fun and interesting.

Of course, at the county fair, the exhibitors can be young or old, but interestingly enough, most of the individuals actually showing the pigs in the show ring were very young — all the way down to a 4-year-old boy.

It is really inspiring to watch how accomplished many of these young people are, watch how these young people interact with the judge and their pig. I am talking about the swine show because that was the show I watched. However, I did walk by the cattle show ring and did note same thing was true, it was the young people doing the showing.

I was so proud of my grandson and of all those young people. They make me confident in our future.

When I was growing up in this area and visiting the county fair every year, there were many more animals being shown, as much more livestock was raised in our area. Even though that is true, when you walk in those barns and you see those showing getting ready for judging, that same pride is there, that same desire to succeed is still there.

From what I saw, the fair was certainly a success this year. It was what a fair should be — full of lights, sounds, food, friends and young and old.

It was the quiet of a Saturday morning midway, the noise of the cattle, swine, sheep, horses and chickens, the smell of “fair food,” the laughter of children, the roar of the crowd in the grandstand.

It was the pride of showing your collection, your flowers, your pig, your rooster, your ewe, your steer. It was the handshake of a young showman, thanking the judge for his kind words.

It was the honest act of the person turning in a young boy’s wallet. It was Saturday night at the fair. Does it get better than that?

Note to readers: Nita Wyatt of Wyanet can be reached at

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