Our State Fair is a Great State Fair!
I just spent three straight days at the Iowa State Fair with my wife and my three youngest kids. The kids were showing their Boer goats in the 4-H show. We’d never shown any livestock at the State Fair before and I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about the whole deal. How would our stock compare to the competition? How would we ever get everything unloaded and loaded back up again with all the traffic and the people? Well, as with most things I worry about, I shouldn’t have wasted my time worrying at all!
The Fair organizers are great. After all, this is not their first rodeo so any problems we might have encountered had already been ironed out years earlier. We had a packet of instructions two weeks in advance. It included all of the check in dates and times along with the appropriate gate assignments and parking stickers. We had everything unloaded and penned up within an hour of our arrival! There was plenty of helpful staff on horseback who kept the traffic moving and the congestion at a minimum. I didn’t see one problem or hear one horn honked in frustration. I wouldn’t call the process relaxing but it was far from the stressful event I’d anticipated.
Once we were settled in, I had a chance to observe some of the staff in action. I’d never been on the fairgrounds at 5:30 a.m. before. It’s a beehive of activity! Garbage trucks cleaning up after 100,000 people, skid loaders hauling off manure from hundreds of head of livestock and vendors dropping off food and beverages for the day. Everyone has their time slot to do their thing and they follow it to the letter.
The livestock show went smoothly too. When they say first show at 8:00 a.m., they mean it! All the judges and support staff were in place well in advance and the shows went off without a hitch. The livestock judges are some of the best in the nation and the 4-H staff is second to none when it comes to running a show. It’s always a pleasure to see professionals and volunteers come together like a well oiled machine.
When we were all done, loaded up and headed home, the conversation turned to next year. What animals would we bring? When should we breed our animals to maximize the number of animals we could show? Should we make some changes to our program based on the judge’s comments on our animals? There were lots of ideas and food for thought. At any rate, it’s a sure thing we’ll be back again next year with a new group of animals. One thing is for certain, we’ll be able to count on the capable State Fair staff for another well run Fair!Blain Smith
VP Ag Lending