An Emotional Breakdown County Fair Edition

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The season of county fairs is winding down, and in memorial to the most fun and stressful time of the year, here is a timeline of the emotional breakdown of fair week from the eyes of a 4-H alumnus turned leader.


The fair for exhibitors starts days before the carnival, but at our county fair, Sunday is the day for livestock check-in. We’re all optimistic about the week, excited to set up our pens and see our “county fair friends”. We all have them, you see them once a year, but you’re best buds as soon as you step onto the fairgrounds. The first day is hectic, but after check-in, you’re relaxed and ready for the week. You feel empowered, ready to take on the world…or, at least, take on Senior Poultry Showmanship.


The week has begun! Everyone is anxiously waiting for the midway to open up and shows have started at the very crack of dawn. While your friends are going on with their lives, you’re at the fairgrounds at 7am hollering at 4-H and FFA youth and scraping chicken poo off of plywood tables. Monday is poultry show day for our fair. The excitement of the week has just started!


Tuesday is Kid’s Day, so most regular fairgoers either spend this day running up and down the midway (if you’re under 15 years old) or hiding in their campers, waiting for the chaos to trickle away. Spirits are starting to wear a little bit, but we’re not beat yet.

Photo: on the midway, Fotolia/jdoms


For the rest of the world this is Hump Day, and for the county fair, it’s no different. You’re tired. Your feet are somehow already sore, and you have third degree burns on your face from the sun. You are still chugging along, but feel that the string might be about ready to snap.


The kids are screaming, you are screaming, everyone is screaming. The drama heightens as shows have started to die down and everyone is ready to stir up trouble in the massive temporary camper town that is the fairgrounds. This is about the time that a parent screams at a volunteer, the fair manager is called to the barn, or someone’s kid spray paints a pig.


Just stay in your camper.

Photo: ready to show, Fotolia/pearlguy


This is the day of our Small Animal Livestock Auction, so we slap on our happy faces and charge through the sale ring as if we don’t want to just lie down and cry.


If you have exhibits, you check them out to load up and take home. By now, the stress has pretty much gone. You got a decently good sleep, half of the livestock are on their way to the slaughter plant, and life is good. You’re already discussing what you’re going to show next year, and everyone is dismayed at how fast the week went by!