I loved living on a farm when I was growing up, but one of the things I loved the most was being able to participate in 4-H. One of the main reasons I enjoyed 4-H so much was because our county fair was by far the best. It may seem that all the county fairs in Indiana would be quite similar, but that is definitely not the case.
Our county fair seemed to stick to the basics of 4-H. The fair grounds included: the hog barn, the sheep/goat barn, the cattle barn, the horse barn, two show arenas, the camp area, the project barn, a play ground, and of course the famous cafeteria. Across the road there was also the antique tractor display. The only ride that could be found at our fair was the merry-go-round, and for most I’m sure that doesn’t qualify.
I'm sure everyone is partial to their own fair. It may seem silly to get so attached, but for many others and myself it was the highlight of the summer. It always seemed that the people in 4-H had a special bond. In my experience, I found that I had a whole other set of friends that I hung out with during the 4-H fair. It was the one week out of the year that it was ok to be friends with someone on the rival basketball team. It seemed as though school districts and county rivalry was thrown out the window during that week.
While I consider my county’s fair to be "traditional", us 4-Hers had a few traditions of our own. It was a well-known fact that everyone was thrown in the manure spreader at some point during their 10 years. I was fortunate enough to be one of the exceptions. I consider myself very lucky to have never been thrown in the spreader. It was also expected to have at least one water fight at some point during the week. Unfortunately I had more than my fair share of water fights. I usually got soaked about 3 times during the week. I did get smarter though, and I started keeping a change of clothes in my show box.
4-H was definitely a lot of fun, but there is a lot of work that goes in to preparing for that week. I showed cattle and I absolutely loved it. Sometimes people don’t always realize all the work behind the scenes. It takes many hours and a lot of sweat in order to get the animals broke and clean. Not to mention, leading around a 1500 pound animal can be very intimidating. With all the work I put in though, I never felt that it wasn’t worth it.
I will always hold my 4-H memories close to my heart. After all, I did participate in it for 10 years. 4-H was something I was able to look forward to all year long, and I always felt that during the week of the fair, nothing else in the world mattered. This may seem silly, but I’m sure the people that were in 4-H know exactly what I mean.