The title of this is sung in my best voice -- as the song we all know and love from "Fiddler on the Roof"!
I'm not one to always have my camera with me, but I really wish I would have had it earlier today. I wanted it because I wanted to capture the traditions I saw happening all around me.
I was at the Auglaize County Fair today. We were setting up booths, both for our 4-H Club, and also I put the finishing touches on our booth for work (in the commercial building). We always try to get in early to put the booth for the club together, because, although the building is air conditioned, the combination of lots of bodies in the building (all doing the same thing -- putting their booths together) and the doors opening and closing all the time make for an uncomfortable building the longer the day goes.
What I saw today, above and beyond the act of putting the booths together, were some really neat traditions. Many clubs are handed down through the generations -- with advisers advising their grandchildren, and potentially their children serving as advisers with them -- or parents helping their kids put their things in the booths, as they did years ago. I always love these days -- I said hi to my friend, Bonnie, who lives not too far away, but whom I ONLY see at the fair each year. We greeted each other with our annual hello and then went on our ways.
Although there are many aspects of the fair -- the rides, the grandstand activities, etc., our family has always focused on the junior fair participation. Sarah did FCCLA one year, but other than that, our family has always gone the 4-H route. Could be that I was very involved in 4-H as a kid -- and am an advisor for a club -- maybe?? :)
I have to say that I am tickled that my kids have participated. We haven't ever forced them to -- maybe strongly encouraged to at least try the first year and then figure out if they like it after that. So, far, we've only had one not return for his second year -- Harry -- but the kids miss him participating and have been asking him to come back next year. It's a little tough for me sometimes with the boys, because I don't "know" all of the "boy" projects as well to help them pick something, and Jim was never in 4-H, so he isn't fully aware, either. But we're working on it!
So, although we were at the fair today, I feel like it's been going on for a couple of weeks now -- Sarah and Emily are on Junior Fair Board, so they have been working at the fair several days a week for a couple of weeks. Putting pens in place, setting up show rings, putting together stages, working judgings and announcing winners, etc. You name it and they have probably done it the past few weeks! They both got stepped on and fingers slammed in pens today -- and someone (who shall remain nameless) got peed on the other week! And yet, they return tomorrow for another day. Why? Because Junior Fair Board, and fair in general, is about so much more than that. It's about figuring out who you are, and what you enjoy doing, and making awesome friends in the process!
Our discussion before judging is the same every year. I tell them to do their best. That's all I ask. Ribbons and awards are great, but those are forgotten over time. However, the experiences you have are not. The friendships you make are not. The interviews and the announcing help prepare you for real life. The decisions made by the junior fair board impact lots of people -- and learning to make decisions that impact people -- sometimes in a large way -- is a huge part of it all.
On my way out, I stopped and worked in the commercial building for a while on our work booth. I'm really glad I did. I got to see the folks in the building (fine arts, maybe?) and watch them work on my trips in and out. I loved it -- generations sharing their trade -- whether photography, or quilting (one of my favorites), or vegetable gardening, or baking -- it's in there. People laughing and having fun, becoming reacquainted with one another, and yet here for the same purpose -- to show our best.
I'm sure this won't be my only post of the fair this week -- I WILL share my celebrations with you if there are any :) -- but here's hoping that the fair traditions go on for a long time.
Here's to a great fair week!