The week before the Southern Iowa Fair

Herald file photo4-H and FFA members participate in a swine show at the Southern Iowa Fair in 2018.

OSKALOOSA— The southern Iowa Fair is approaching, which means a lot of people are staying busy and getting prepared for the eventful week.

Amy Brainard, the County Youth Coordinator said the Southern Iowa Fair is very special.

“The Southern Iowa Fair is an opportunity for individuals to come together as a family and to enjoy one another's company. Parents and grandparents pitch in to help make it a success,” she said. “Find a bench at the fair and observe what's going on around the barns - it truly is amazing. The fair creates a sense of belonging and generosity that you don't find everywhere else.”

The kids and staff stay very busy the week before the fair by preparing.

What do kids do the week before to prepare for the fair?

Brainard said this is a time for youth to finish their exhibits for the fair, including prepping livestock for their shows.

"They are completing their non-livestock goal sheets and entry tags, organizing their schedules, and getting all of their equipment out for their animal exhibits. Equipment ranges from feed and water pans and box fans to brushes, generators, and bedding," she said. "What each child does to prep for the fair varies based on the exhibits they plan to bring to the fair. Above is just some of what is being done, but families are busy doing so much more.”

Brainard and the 4-H staff are organizing all of the forms, prepping news releases, moving items out to their temporary 4-H office locations on the fairgrounds, setting up the phone and internet, sending out packets to the judges so they have current rules and a parking pass, and so, so much more.

She says the week of the fair is busy and hot for the 4-H and FFA kids.

“Beyond that, it is a lot of fun and a chance for the youth to see friends they only see once or twice per year," she said. "The fair helps them to showcase all of their learning from the year and to gain skills in organization, communication, teamwork, and leadership.”

She said that this is probably the busiest time of year, but many 4-H and FFA members do not show at the fair. So the busier time for them is when they are active in the many other projects involved with the organizations.

For many kids, this is the highlight of the year for them. They work on their projects throughout the year, gain knowledge and skills, and use the fair as a time to showcase their learning through the exhibits they bring.

The southern Iowa fair starts July 15. Go out to the Oskaloosa fairgrounds and enjoy a week full of eventful events that will be happening. People put countless hours into making this happen.