One of the best weeks of the year for Carroll Countians is wrapping up. You may have noticed quite a few more tractors on the roads in Westminster this week. The 4-H fair hosted at the Carroll County Agricultural Center is the place where local farming families gather annually for the week of the fair. They arrive long before the sun comes up and pull out, dog tired, long after the sun goes down. Often they are returning to a farm and work demands that somehow must still be tended while they are away all week. The week is, without a doubt, full of exhaustion and stress preparing and participating; however the sweet memories made will last a life time.
The dairy farmers arrive at 3:30 in the morning...I thought the farming day was sun up to sun down, looks like I very much underestimated it! It is a beautiful sight to behold each generation of children carrying on the tradition of their parents. Often mom and dads are right in the stalls with their children helping them tend to their animals. In between the work, the kids race around the fair grounds together consuming more Italian sausages, cotton candy, ice cream and french fries in one week than they will the rest of the year combined.
Ribbons will hang proudly on display through the year in their homes, seeding the dreams for next year's coveted prizes. Young love is in full bloom amongst the teens and some will experience their first secret kiss on one of those long fair days. Weary moms and dads are making sure no one waters the animals with ag fair water because it's city water and will cause digestive issues for the livestock. Parents comfort crying children whose livestock did not place in the competition, urging them on to hopes for the following year. Old timers share stories of tractor repairs, record breaking harvests, the price of seed...Grandparents, parents and children alike will carry their fair memories with them to their last days. That's what keeps them coming back every year in expectant anticipation.
Monster Truck Show photos--click on the photo below to advance through the gallery block.
My fascination with the fair began many years ago. I just love the agricultural roots of our county. Regularly I point out our surrounding beauty to my boys while we are driving with "look at that field of bright green soy bean against those brilliant blue skies, the long expanse of it is gorgeous! Many of these fields will not be here when you get older so log their beauty in your memory bank now so you will always remember the beauty you grew up around."
I have always tried to squeeze in some time to photograph bits of the fair. What you see in this blog is just the tip of the iceberg of all that goes on through the week. I focus my areas of shooting where my boys are most interested---the monster truck show, the demotion derby and the cheering on of their friends who have been raising livestock for competitions.
The 4-H'ers and their prized animals...click on the photo below to advance through the gallery block.
Demolition Derby photos--click on the photo below to advance through the gallery block.
May we always gather to celebrate the farmers who keep our county beautiful and our refrigerators full. May we always cherish the passing of the torch to each new generation when they see the honor and sacrifice involved in a hard day's work that provides for so many. May your fair memories abound with laughter, love and pride in a job well done!