Monday, August 17, 2015

A Fair is an Affair

A celebration happened last week and that was the 106th Grant County Fair & Rodeo.  It is now the longest-running annual county fair in the State of Oregon held annually in August.  The fair comes complete with lots of entertainment for all ages - carnival rides, music, contests and events, livestock exhibits, vendors, a rodeo and of course, socializing with other fair attendees.  In a small community, that is pretty easy to do as you usually meet someone you know.   Children are always a delight to watch as they express themselves in fun.  I was able to take few photos of several children who were excited over their face paintings, artistically drawn in facial expression.

There are plenty of behind the scene activities at the County Fair, one being 4-H.  A short lesson on what 4-H stands for..... Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.  The colors are green and white - green stands for growing, living things and white for purity and cleanliness.
The 4-H Pledge is: my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, my Health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world. The 4-H motto: "To Make the Best Better"... The 4-H Slogan: "Learn by Doing".  
4-H is for boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 18, which is designed to develop and mentor youth through a variety of clubs, camps and programs.  One such program focuses on livestock animals, which includes sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, horses.... even to chickens and rabbits.  Youth involved in the 4-H program spend a great deal of their summer in taming, training, grooming and looking after their animal in preparation for competition for showmanship and quality of their animal.
The animals are usually sold at auction at the end of the fair, the climatic ending of a summer of hard work and responsibility for the final outcome of the worth of their animal.  Below are a few photos of some of the animals exhibited at the fair.  I captured a few in a comedic pose -  baby rabbits curled up in a feed pan - a pig eating that last bit of grain - goats have big ears! - a sheep who wanted out - cute  miniature horses with eye hiding forelocks.  These are just some of the 4-H animals and a few on exhibit for viewing pleasure.

There are some stories behind fair events - the scene of sadness and tears for some youngsters when it is time to let go of their animal for auction.  Mixed emotions are evident since they reap the reward for all their hard work in a monetary way as their animal goes to the highest bidder.  For some, heartstrings are attached but nonetheless, they prepare themselves to go through this same process for another year.

Which brings me to another story behind the rodeo scene.  The below photos show a horse and rider who carried the flag as part of the traditional 'grand entry' before rodeo action begins.  As horse and rider move throughout the arena, it gives a sense of pride and patriotism to have the flag displayed in this manner.  It was especially moving when you know that the rider is paralyzed from the waist down. If you look close enough in the picture, you will see a brace that stabilized him to the horse.  His determination and grit is apparent in riding horseback in the privilege of carrying the American flag.  Way to go Alec!

The theme for this year's Grant County Fair & Rodeo days was "Blue Jeans & County Dreams".  An affair indeed!... a love of community and tradition for folks of all ages to enjoy and onward to the 107th in 2016.   

Let's visit again at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, August 31....  Until then, God bless us all in the freedoms we enjoy and not take them for granted,  even a county fair.

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