“Are they really going to cancel the county fair?” my daughter asked. As I slowly nodded my head yes, I could see her eyes well up with tears.
I had just read the press release that our county fair in Wisconsin was canceled. I do understand why the decision had to be made, but the thought of my girls not having the opportunity to show their livestock animals and participate in the Green Lake County Fair makes my heart sad. I showed at this same fair growing up and it was always the highlight of my year. So many good memories were made at that fair. As soon as the fair was over, I started preparing and deciding on projects for the next year. Now as a parent, I see my girls share that same excitement and enthusiasm I had.
The morning after the fair was canceled, I was making my morning cup of coffee and I was still feeling rather mad and bitter that our county decided to cancel the fair so early. It was just after 5 a.m. I suddenly heard the back door of the house open. I did not realize my 13-year-old daughter was already up and had been outside. She walked into the kitchen and with a smile on her face and said, “Got my boys fed!”
She gotten up all on her own at 5 in the morning and had already fed her three fair steers. Later that day as I walked by the girls’ “show shed,” I heard the hum of a clippers. I looked in and saw my 11-year-old daughter shearing her ewe lamb she had for the fair. About an hour later my 9-year-old daughter had put halters on her two market lambs and asked if I would go with her while she took her lambs for a walk down our lane. Despite the huge disappointment of knowing there would not be a county fair, my girls understood that their animals still needed to be cared for.
No matter what happens, they are committed to continuing to raising quality market animals that they can be proud of. They are continuing to work hard each day training, leading, brushing, washing, and feeding their animals. They are hopeful there will still be some alternative way they can show and showcase their projects, but no matter what they will finish strong.
I know there are hundreds of other hard working 4-H and FFA members also continuing to work hard with their projects even though there is a strong probability that more fairs will continue to be canceled. Congratulations to all the 4-H and FFA members that continue to work with their projects, despite the uncertainty of COVID-19. Even though there will be no ribbons handed out this year, I know that the life lessons learned this year makes all the hard working 4-H and FFA members true champions.
This article was written by Becky Hibicki, District 5 Coordinator for Wisconsin Farm Bureau. It first appeared on WFBF’s website and is republished here with permission.