“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 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 thirteen-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 five 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 eleven-year-old daughter shearing her ewe lamb she had for the fair. About an hour later my nine-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.
Becky Hibicki serves as the District 5 Coordinator for Wisconsin Farm Bureau. She is active in the Green Lake County 4-H program and serves as the general leader for the Three Hilltoppers 4-H Club and is a large animal livestock project leader. In addition to working full-time for WFBF, Becky and her husband Matthew operate a small dairy farm northeast of Ripon and homeschool their seven children.
Heather Hansen says
This made me cry and smile. I was a ten year 4-Her who showed steers and market lambs. I’ve been a 4-H leader, a county extension agent and a fair board member. I now represent fairs in Washington State. This applies to so many wonderful kids across the country. Give your girls a hug and thanks for writing.
Amy Sue says
Thank you for sharing this incredible story!!
Nancy Johnson says
Being a life long 4-H member I was saddened to read that the Green Lake County Fair has been cancelled. I’m now the grandmother of an 11 year old 4-H member as well as a 4-H Leader. I miss the monthly 4-H meetings and the chance to have all of our club members together. Given that the Sheboygan County Fair is not until Labor Day weekend I’m holding out hope that our fair will not be canceled. The county fair means so much to the 4-H kids; it’s everything they have work for over the year, it’s the kids chance to shine and demonstrated what they have spent a year or more learning to do. The county fair is “family pride”; a chance for parents and grandparents to congradulate the kids on jobs well done. In addition to being a 4-H Leader I own some dairy cattle and was looking forward to showing in open class at the fair. I had to make the decision this week that, due to the need for upcoming surgery, I will not be able to have my animals at the fair. I think of the words to the 4-H Pledge, “I pledge my head to greater thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and MY HELATH TO BETTER LIVING for my club, my community, my country and my world.” It would be a huge dissappointment to 4-H kids NOT to have a county fair this year; however, it would truely reimnd not only 4-H kids but parents, grandparents and the county as a whole how seriously 4-H members, Leaders and parents live out the 4-H pledge every day.