Growing up, my summers were spent at fairs. It started when I was young, with the annual trip to the Dixon May Fair with my extended family, and then became so much more when I turned eight. That’s when I joined 4-H and my life changed.
I don’t think we ever took a “summer vacation,” but I have more summer memories than most people probably do. There was the hard stuff like cleaning stalls and washing cows, but there were also late night golf cart races around the empty fair grounds and summer romances that could only bloom amidst the smell of manure.
I took Dominic to the San Mateo County Fair today, and although it’s not nearly the size and scope of my former stomping grounds—the Sonoma County Fair—it still brought back so many memories. I sincerely hope that Dominic and his little brother get to have at least a smidge of that fair experience that I cherish so much. I hope they know the feeling of hard work and the amazing reward of being recognized for it. I hope they make friends who can talk knowledgably about the quality of a show lamb and that they learn about the integrity it takes to be a true competitor.
We have a few more years until the boys can participate, so until then, I’ll wet their whistle each year with some trips to the fair. The highlight this year may have been “the big cow pooping!” But maybe someday it will be a big purple rosette or a pretty girl with a belt buckle.