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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

July 25, 2023

Surviving the Fair Season

Submitted by Carla Nemecek, Mary Sullivan, Aliesa Good

Summer is a demanding time for all extension agents and local unit staff. As county fair winds down and you begin the surge to the state fair, we recognize how our K-State Research and Extension team members play a vital role in ensuring the success of these events.

Tasked with a long list of responsibilities, we see you working tirelessly behind the scenes to support 4-H members and volunteers, educate the community, and maintain order during this hectic period.

Just for fun, here is your regional directors' list of five ways you know its fair season:

1. Procrastination skills are mastered. There is nothing quite like the last minute, late night sessions where folks are scrambling to finish projects, or agents are packing the office to move to the fairgrounds and get organized before the fair begins. Whether you are a procrastinator or you know one – it is a life skill worth mastering.

2. Uniformity is critical. 4-H members may have spent an unhealthy amount of time finding three uniform, same size cookies to present to the judges, or hours perfecting every stitch on that quilt that they have been working on for days (and it should have been months…Refer to item No. 1).

3. The elation of victory and the displeasure of loss can be felt across the fairgrounds. The extension agent gets to remind parents and spectators to remember that the project is being judged, not the 4-H member.

4. Laughter is quick to arise as fair days wind down. Water is often the best ingredient for youth shenanigans with parents and agents or some other priceless prank that involves an unexpected reason to cool off and get wet.

5. Memories are created that will last a lifetime. Thanks to the hours spent completing that 4-H record book (which they are already working on, right? Again, refer to item No. 1), youth aren’t likely to soon forget the 4-H projects or friendships developed during the county fair. Hopefully a good experience with their extension agent is one of those positive memories.

We admire your diligence and professionalism as you execute a positive fair experience for your community. You truly are the unsung heroes of summertime!