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8 Reasons The County Fair’s Importance To Rural Communities Lives On

Do you know someone who questions the local county fair’s importance to the community. 

County fair’s importance has been on my mind for a few years now. Mainly because I can see our local fair’s exhibits dropping at a number of local fairs I attend. Not only on the open class side but the youth 4-H & FFA side as well.

It brings me sadness when I see such an historical tradition of rural communities across America fading away. I’ve even heard of counties dropping their county fairs across the country. All because they don’t understand the county fair’s importance.

The county fair’s importance dates back to a history when people loved to get together and celebrate. They celebrated successful learning and showed their best harvest and crafts. They taste tested entries to determine the best pie. The county fair was a celebration everyone looked forward to. It brought the community together.

Over the years, people have forgotten the county fair’s importance to the rural communities we all know and love. Here are 8 reasons the county fair’s importance are still strong.

county fair's importance

Brings the Community Together

A common quote in small communities is: “It’s a small world“. The world we live in is small, but it still seems like life’s busy schedules get in the way of friendships and fun.

County fairs are community celebrations that brings everyone together each year. Citizens come together to socialize, learn and enjoy good local food and entertainment. It’s events like these that many rural families plan their schedules around each year.

Not only does it bring out the locals, but the county fair also brings back families who have moved away. Many of my cousins from the city bring their families back to the local county fair because it is a safe and fun learning environment for kids.

The the kids LOVE it! They look forward to spending the week at the fair. Hanging out on the grounds, they are free to discover new things and make new friends. It’s fun to watch the curiosity and excitement in their eyes as they gain new hobbies and interests to take home with them.

So, as people from other places come into enjoy the rural feel of the fair and co-mingle with locals, they socialize and make memories as one community who have common interests and hobbies to share with each other.

Shows Hobbies & Interests of the Rural Community

Through contests, exhibits, shows and entertainment, there are so many different things to see and do at the county fair. One thing for sure – Each county fair has it’s own unique specialty that sets it apart. No two county fairs are the same even across county lines.

But that is what makes county fairs so special to the community. And if one would travel to see the county fair in the next county, they would come to appreciate their roots and heritage more.

Heritage and history is part of what makes the community and the county fair awesome. If you think about it, long ago founding members came to these rural communities and used their hobbies and interests to make a living. Many of these hobbies and interests are still carried through today. You can explore them at the county fair.

Maybe your county is known for it’s rich soil. You can check out the gardening and crops exhibits to see the fruits (and veggies) of labor that was achieved with great gardening practices. Or, perhaps your community is proud of it’s history or heritage. For example, check out a historical society educational exhibit where they have activities for all ages and a place to learn about the community’s history.

Along with exhibits and learning, the county fair is a safe place to exhibit local hobbies and talents. In open class or as a youth in the 4-H or FFA programs, there are many competitive classes to showcase the best of your county. Without competition, there would be no reason to showcase the best and learn from the best. Being the best is what helps the community and the economy continue to thrive.

Brings Economy to Community

When people visit the community, they bring economy to the local small businesses. If you talk to many small business owners, they’ll tell you the county fair week is one of the biggest weeks in income stream for their business.

This tells me that the county fair’s importance is vital for small business growth. If that county fair week would be taken away, their overall growth charts would look quite a bit smaller for these businesses who are already climbing and hoping they can make it another year.

So, for the sake of small rural businesses, the county fair’s importance plays a huge part in the sustainability. County fair visitors come in to the fair, but they also enjoy the hospitality of local small businesses. Sometimes, these businesses will even set up an area at the fair to serve their products and even give free samples to lure in more customers.

The main thing to learn from these businesses is that they care about the community they serve. Hence, the more reasons to serve the local businesses who give so much to their community.

County Fair's Importance

Learning New Things

County fairs are an excellent opportunity to learn new things. Exhibits and entertainments provide life lessons to all who come to enjoy them each year. It’s always so much fun to look through everything and gain new knowledge.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to gain new knowledge. Part of attending the fair is stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new. This could be as an exhibitor or as a county fair attendee.

One thing I love to do is to help explain county fairs to people who have never been to the fair before. I want them to keep coming back. To enjoy themselves and to know what is going on. I want them to learn so they can get more involved in the county fair’s importance as well.

And along with helping people comes the opportunity to meet new people as well.

New Acquaintances 

Meet new people at the County Fair! We are social beings and most of us love social events. We love to get out and socialize with other people in the community.

Meeting new people can be difficult for some people. It’s difficult for me sometimes as introverted as I am. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to meet anyone new and I want to stay in my bubble. I’m generally a “people watcher” – not a “people meeter”.

However, I remember how far talking to people has gotten me. It takes a lot for me to come outside my bubble some days. But imagine how much you are missing when you hold back. The next person you talk to could be that next open door for you.

So, here are some ways you can strike up a random conversation that could really build a relationship down the road:

  1. Find a Common Interest
  2. Ask a Question or Give a Compliment 
  3. Give Someone Helpful Advice

Why should you take the time to make new acquaintances at the county fair? Because you never know what new opportunities will arise from that meeting.

New Opportunities

New opportunities come with meeting new people. The more people you meet, the more opportunities you will gain in your life. Based on the three ways to strike up a conversation, let’s look at each one and decide how that could gain a new opportunity for you.

Find a Common Interest – You could be finding your next business partner or friend. Maybe your interest is kids. Perhaps it’s the local coffee or love of gardening. You can find ways to reconnect with this person later on to build a relationship in business or friendship.

Ask a Question – It’s definitely ok to ask questions at the county fair to strike up a conversation as long as it’s relevant and intelligent. 

Give A Compliment – My personal favorite conversation starter! I love to make someone feel great about themselves and then make a lifelong friend. 

Give Someone Helpful Advice – Because you never know how you could be helping that person to become better. 

When you seek new opportunities and meet new people, you discover new ideas to try that will make memories for a lifetime.

New Ideas to Try

The exhibits at the county fair can also introduce new ideas to try. New recipes, new products and maybe even a new hobby.

Can you imagine even finding your next big business idea from the county fair? Gaining ideas from someone else isn’t stealing if you take it and make it your own unique style.

New ideas turn into creativity. Creating new things can become dreams made. So, discover something new at the county fair and ignite your way towards your goal. But don’t forget to have fun as well.

A Fun Time Had By All

Socializing, learning, meeting new people and helping the communities is fun. The county fair history books tell us that the county fair has always been about fun and friendly competition.

A way to showcase results of talent and hobbies to determine the best of the best. If we can preserve any history lessons, it should be fun and FRIENDLY competition. Oh, and learning – that’s important, too.

Because everyone remembers fun. They remember friends. And they remember what they’ve learned. These are the most important values of the county fair and it’s vitality to the local communities.

County Fair's Importance

What You Can Do To Help Protect  County Fairs?

The question on my mind is: “Are county fairs dying?” I’ve heard it spoken and seen it written. The thought of no more county fairs just sickens me. We can all get more involved and help preserve these annual events. Here are three ways you can help protect and preserve the county fair’s importance in your home community.

Become an Exhibitor

Many people these days don’t realize or don’t even think about the fact that they can bring their talents to the fair. They can showcase their interests, too. And more exhibits help grow the fair – not hurt it. It never hurts to be sure quality exhibits are entered.

Because people come to the fair to see things. If there’s nothing to see and do, why would they bother to come? So, check out the county fair book to see what you can do to become an exhibitor and what you can exhibit.

Get Involved & Volunteer

Another way you can help out is to volunteer. Time is precious but volunteering your time at the county fair is time well spent. Helping out can help you make new acquaintances and discover new opportunities.

Getting involved also helps you to see the other side. You’ll see why things are the way they are. Maybe even what needs to be changed to make it better.

You’ll also discover the county fair’s importance. You will discover the need to invite others who aren’t already involved to become more involved. You’ll see the need to keep the numbers strong and the exhibit quality at top notch.

Invite Others to Exhibit & Help Them

Do you have a friend who posts amazing photos? Or has amazing artwork? Invite them to showcase their talents at the fair. Tell them about the opportunities that could come along with it. And help them.

Help them learn how to be an exhibitor. Show them what they need to do to enter their exhibits.

Because the county fair’s importance to the local communities is vital. Every one needs to recognize and think about what is at stake if the county fair were to go away.

County Fair's Importance

A Look Into The Future

Across the country, most county fairs are still going strong. But every once in a while, I hear of another county closing its doors on the fair. And that makes me very sad.

What will become of our local communities if they lose social events such as the county fair? How will the community continue to thrive if we don’t have the opportunity to showcase our best work?

The best is yet to come. I think in order for county fairs to still be viable in our future world, they will need change with the changing times. It will be interesting to see what that change looks like.

But one thing that should never change is the county fair’s importance to the economy, society, and heritage of our small rural communities. The county fair’s importance must continue to live on. Other’s need to see that importance and understand the vital role the county fair plays in the community for all ages.

[Tweet “So, how will you share the county fair’s importance in your community?”]

~ Much Love ~

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