EDITORIAL: Fair week a reminder of what makes area great

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Washington County Fair week is a reminder of what makes rural Middle America special.

First, it brings all communities within the county together to celebrate the accomplishments of our youth while having a little fun in the meantime. While everyone comes from different towns, it’s Washington County’s agricultural heritage that’s at the center.

Second, it puts the spotlight on the youth. With a wide array of exhibits, contests, livestock shows and modern pop culture entertainment, the fair gives area children center stage. Thousands flock to the fairgrounds each year, which means countless eyes see the work youth have put into their entries that year. The support these children receive for their dedication provides motivation for them to not only continue to show, but to pass on the love of the fair to future generations.

Finally, it honors one of the top industries of the county in a truly intimate way. During the fair, families and farms who pioneered farming in the area are acknowledged. Crops and animals are judged against the best of the best and thousands of dollars are raised for youth programming that provides children opportunities to be the next generation of producers.

The Washington County Fair is a warranted celebration for all things agriculture but, like many large events, is not possible without the dedication of countless individuals who dedicate time and talent throughout the year. Nearly the second the fair ends, the next one is already in the planning stages. The result of which is a fair that spans five days but never feels stagnant and manages to have different features each year.

We don’t see a lot of what goes on behind the scenes when we take in the fair and that’s the sign of a well-oiled machine. But behind each concert, each livestock show and each exhibit are hours and hours of planning.

The best way to show appreciation for the efforts is to simply attend at least one event. If you don’t typically have the fair on your schedule, this should be the year you venture to Arlington and see what it has to offer. If you’re the type that has your favorites, try something new. In both instances, you may find a new favorite while supporting those that helped make it possible.

So, when the fair arrives, pack up your car, head to the fairgrounds and help celebrate what makes the area great.

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