‘Mmm, it smells so fresh!’ announced one of my girls as the other one pulled up her nose and asked, ‘What is that bad smell?’ I giggled as we parked near the animal barns at the Buena Vista County Fair Grounds. From the start, our day was full of adventure and learning! By the end of the day, we were all a little sweaty and stinky, but none of us really seemed to care!
It was our first trip to the fair and we were there bright and early to watch the 4-H Swine Show. We enjoyed watching the 4-Hers proudly show their pigs. It was a perfect opportunity for my non-farm girls to learn a little bit about 4-H and pigs. The doughnut holes and juice provided by a local business were a plus too!
We walked around the many buildings to see the animals, 4-H exhibits, vendors, open-class exhibits, and animals again! My girls loved the animals! They learned the names of the horses and laughed at the goats. A couple of friendly 4-Hers held their rabbits and allowed the girls to pet them. That made their day!
The Open Class Building was fun to explore. I loved to see all the projects, vegetables, food, and flowers people brought to show off. The Ugly Lamp Contest entries were especially fun. I’m already scheming what my ugly lamp will look like if they have the same contest next year.
My girls enjoyed the play area in the Open Class Building designed just for them. It was a new venture this year at the fair, and according to one of the people working there, it was a popular place for many kids. Children were allowed to play, read, or color while their parents looked at the exhibits in the building. We were also lucky to be part of a special story time by Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture. Other Mystery Readers read books to children during the fair.
After we took in some of the sights, it was time for a very special event at the fair for my kiddos. This summer they were introduced to Clover Kids, an extension of 4-H for younger children. They were able to bring projects and/or a stuffed animal to be judged at the fair. I can’t even explain how excited my girls were to do this. The kiddos were asked questions about their projects and stuffed animals and were given participation ribbons. Snacks and activities were available while they waited. They were so proud, and I was too. As a former 4-Her, it was fun to introduce my girls to something that could eventually be a big part of their future.
We ate lunch in the shade, saw cats and guinea pigs in the small animal show, said good-bye to the animals, and decided to go home to take a break from the heat. The girls didn’t have enough of the fair though, so we went back in the evening so they could show Dad their projects and introduce him to their favorite animals. We checked out the car show and looked at the farm machinery too. After eating the yummy free meal sponsored by many local businesses, we let the girls have fun at the carnival. There was something for people of all ages at the fair.
I have to admit, I was impressed by my first trip to the Buena Vista County Fair. It wasn’t a huge fair, but we did spend a good share of the day checking out the events and exhibits. The people I talked to shared that this year’s fair was better than it had been in previous years. Fair-goers liked the lower gate fee and the addition of more family friendly activities. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for the Buena Vista County Fair. Stay up to date on next year’s activities on Facebook.
Next summer, make sure you check out the Buena Vista County Fair or other county fairs across the state (there’s still time to catch a few fairs before fall-click here for a list of county fairs in Iowa). They are all unique, offer fun activities, and showcase the pride and joy of so many people. Big or small, fairs are celebrations that bring the generations together. We look forward to more adventures at county fairs in years to come!
Our 10 Favorite Things about the 2015 Buena Vista County Fair:
- Gate fee was only $1; kids 5 and under were free
- Parking was free
- Clover Kids activities
- Free meal on Friday night
- Carnival rides and games
- Animals, animals, and more animals
- 4-Hers who gave us a closer look at their animals
- Variety of open class exhibits
- Watching animal shows
- Having fun adventures with my girls!
Check out more pictures from our adventure here!