It’s been just over a week since the fair ended. And sometimes it feels like it takes just about that long to recover. You come pretty close to living at the fair for the week–touching down at home with just enough time to wash your dirty body, your dirty children, your dirty clothes, make a meal that isn’t eaten off a paper plate and go to bed.
Late in the week I wrote my mom a text as I was sitting in my truck in the driveway, not quite ready to walk through the door and tackle the rest of the evening of cleaning, unloading and feeding my people.
“Every night when I get home from the fair– tired, dirty, hungry, and sweaty and then have to make dinner, do laundry, unpack, give baths and pack lunches for the next day, I have a new appreciation and gratitude for all that you did for us every single summer.”
Funny how the older you get the more your eyes are opened to all that your parents did for you. I try not to miss an opportunity to say thanks. Because I’m pretty sure I wasn’t saying it enough when I was 13.
But every year gets a little easier. You get the routine down. The kids get a little older and a little more independent. The baby is old enough to no longer fall apart without an afternoon nap. You get better at packing lunches and first aid kits, and dinners in the crockpot that sit in your barn stall, warming the night’s dinner that you’ll eat before the next trip into the show ring.
This year, like any fair year had it’s joys and disappointments. The girls stole the show in photography last year–winning overall champions for their age groups, but struck out this year–except for this blue ribbon.
The sheep show was a success–my girls’ attitudes to the whole thing couldn’t be more different. Emma wants to win. Mary just loves her lambs and loves the whole experience–win or lose.
This year, for the first time, Emma made it into the ring for Grand Champion Lamb. It is the final class when all the champions from each weight class are brought in and an overall Grand Champion is chosen. She didn’t win Grand Champion, but was definitely being eyed for Reserve Champion–which made for some exciting moments. It was fun to just be in the running.
But maybe one of my favorite parts of the whole thing was witnessing Birdy’s first chance at showing some of her own projects.
She’s not quite old enough to be a Clover (the youngest age of 4-Hers), so we had her enter two projects in Open Class. Watching my sweet, shy little girl stand in front of the judge and talk about her painting and her pottery–phew. The sweetest.
And taking her back at the end of the fair, to collect her projects and discover that she not only got to take home the ribbons, but also a white little envelope with three dollars tucked inside? It was pretty special.
This week truly is one of the best weeks of the summer for my kids. It’s about seeing all your hard work pay off or realizing you could have worked a little bit harder. It’s about running around with friends and riding the midway. Getting soaked in the wash stalls. Taking time to stop what you’re doing to let a little girl who doesn’t know the difference between a sheep and a goat, get to experience what a wooly lamb feels like up close. It’s about hard work. Tears. Rewards. Disappointments. And some of the best memories of the entire summer.
Here’s how it all went down:
- Fine arts “Meadow” painting : 6th place
- Painted pottery horse: 2nd place
Elizabeth: (all Clover awards)
- Decoupage + painted tray
- Fine Arts
- Photography : 1st place, 4th place
- Sheep Showmanship: 3rd place
- Market lambs: 3rd place, 5th place
- Photography: 3rd place, participation
- Sheep Showmanship: 2nd place
- Market lambs: 1st place, 3rd place
- Shepherd Award for helping and sportsmanship
- I entered three photographs. But this one of Birdy came home with a blue ribbon (And a $4 prize. I promise not to spend it all in one place.)
Some county fair posts from past years: