I spent the last week at the Muscatine and Louisa County Fairs, enjoying the food, animal shows, and grandstand events. I grew up attending county fairs, so the atmosphere and aromas are nothing new to me. However, this is the first time I have really thought about just how much these fairs mean to the communities they are a part of.
The youth that are involved in the fair, whether showing animals or displaying crafts in the exhibits—they are all putting their best foot forward to show how hard they have worked in preparation for the fair. They spend weeks and months in advance working with their animals, or designing their projects, and then laboring tirelessly until they are complete.  The fair is the time when they get to show off that hard work and hopefully win a ribbon. Though all that work certainly isn’t just about winning, as many of the 4-H and FFA youth have told me. What is important to them is the connections they make with others and their animals, they look forward to meeting new people and to developing a real relationship with them.
It has become apparent to me that youth involved in 4-H and FFA are some of the most honest and hardworking kids out there. They strive to do their best every day, and even if they don’t win, they are thankful that they had the opportunity to compete. I am in constant awe of their drive and determination. I wish them all the best of luck as they move forward towards their goals, whether that is in an agriculture-related field or not, I truly believe that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. If you know any 4-H or FFA youth, be sure to tell them that all the hard work they put in for the fair and other events does not go unnoticed.
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