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It's Fair Time

| 8/19/2014 9:58:00 AM

Country MoonCaramel corn, elephant ears, tractor pulls, amusement rides, youth competition and so much more! From mid-summer through fall it is county fair time in this part of the country.

I remember as a kid I looked forward to our local fair all year long. It meant a day of eating everything that wasn’t good for you, riding the scary rides and seeing some magnificent animals. One aspect that is a big part of county fairs that I was never involved in was 4-H. It’s not good, it’s not bad that I didn’t experience it, it just wasn’t a part of my life until our grandson starting showing a dairy starter calf and steer four years ago.

First of all, I was confused as to what the difference was between a fair billed as a 4-H fair and a Grange fair like I had gone to all my life. I did some serious digging.

A Grange is a fraternal organization in the United States that encourages families to band together to promote and encourage the livelihood of the community and agriculture. Thus, a Grange fair is the culmination of the Grange’s year’s work. The Grange fair began in 1874 when Leonard Rhone encouraged his Progress Grange to join with sister Granges in organizing a picnic to introduce friends and neighbors to the Grange organization and the benefits of the fraternity.

To date, the largest Grange fair is the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair held each year at Grange Park at Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. It boasts 950 tents, 1,300 RVs, 7,000 exhibitor items and hundreds of concessions.

Though 4-H is often a part of a Grange fair, many county fairs are not associated with any Grange and primarily promote the 4-H organization. 4-H is a youth organization that is administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture. Their mission is to “engage youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development.” The 4-H symbol, represented by a four-leaf clover, stands for the four areas of personal development: head, heart, hands and health.

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