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July and August mean it is county fair time! As the State Senator of Legislative District 47, I have the distinct honor and privilege of representing ten counties in western Nebraska. Legislative District 47 runs second only to Legislative District 43, where State Senator, Tom Brewer, represents twelve counties with fairs. While I enjoy attending all of the fairs and festivals in the district, walking in the parades, and visiting with so many of the folks, the end of summer usually means it is time for me to buy a new pair of boots.
According to the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers more than one million people will attend county fairs and festivals all across Nebraska this year. The reason so many people attend our county fairs and festivals is because there is always something for everyone who attends, no matter the age. Children love the thrill of the carnival rides, but old-timers like me just look forward to eating some tasty barbecue and watching a good tractor pull.
County fairs are a time to showcase the best of what Nebraska has to offer. Nebraska’s county fairs give farmers and ranchers the opportunity to show off the best of what is raised and produced by the agricultural and horticultural land in our state. 4-H, FFA and open competitions are how we train our next generation of farmers and ranchers. Industrial and home-life exhibits showcase new inventions and provide fairgoers with a wide variety of new foods to try.
In the final analysis, I think what makes our county fairs and festivals so enjoyable is that that they give us a chance to be a kid again. The older you get, the more you appreciate the preservation of our traditions and our culture, and exhibits of this kind help us older folks remember the days of our youth. While I am much too old to survive a bounce house, to go upside down, or to ride a bucking bull, I can still live vicariously through those who do. I still relish the ecstatic voice of the 11-year-old boy who says to his small group of friends, “That was awesome; let’s do it again!” Moreover, I hope I never get too old to appreciate mutton busting, teenagers cutting it loose on the dance floor, or a crazy demolition derby. God gave us life to enjoy, so let’s enjoy it at the county fair.