People often ask me how I can spend so much time out at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair. It is true you have to wait in long lines to park just to walk a long way to get in the gates, and then tote around kids that tend to get grumpy when they get hot and tired. Then you have to fight long lines to ride rides and to get food. Even with all that, I love the fair. The fair for me, is not just about the food and riding rides. (Not that those aren't GREAT reasons to go!)
The biggest reason is probably because I was raised spending time at the fair. It's in my blood. I love to be there and walk around. It brings back so many memories. Almost all of those memories, are with my family. Mom, Dad, Kenny and Amanda are a good portion of those memories. Then, of course, there is Uncle John and Uncle Lee. It wasn't the fair without them being around too. Some of the people that I am closest to now, 11 years out of 4-H, are of my friends I made in 4-H. My best friend today, Sarah, was the first friend I made in 4-H. Who knew 22 Years after we first met at the age of 8, that she would become my dearest and closest friend?
The memories I cherish the most from 4-H though, are of my grandfather. He loved the 4-H fair. He could always be counted on to be there any time we were showing, no matter what we were showing. He could also be counted on to buy us donuts when mom and dad said we couldn't have any more money. (Or anything else we wanted, for that matter.) I cherish those memories of my grandfather more than any of the other memories I have of him. I think that's because, in his own quiet way, he loved the fair more than any of us. He may not of said it, but we all knew how proud of us he was when we did well.
So other than the fun and the food, there are so many more reasons that I love the fair. I love what 4-H stands for. I love the lifetime lessons that it teaches kids. I love going to the fair grounds and having a reunion every year. Mostly though, I just love the memories I have there.
My kids aren't old enough to be 4-Her's yet. However, I already know they will be. They both love the fair and animals, just as much as I do. I can only hope, that in 20 years, they can go back to visit and have just as many cherished memories of family and friends as I do.