Times change. Even so there are a few constants in life. One is the pleasure provided by the county fairs that continue to be a highlight of summer in the Hawkeye State.
For as far back as anyone who now lives in this part of Iowa can remember, these summer festivals have been much-anticipated and much-enjoyed features of summertime.
The fairs, of course, have changed over the decades. One central theme, however, remains much the same - a celebration of farm life and the assorted positive educational and personal-growth pursuits that are treasured features of life in rural and small-town Iowa.
With this year's fair season beginning to unfold, The Messenger would be remiss if it did not acknowledge the important role these events play in the life of north central Iowa.
These fairs are more than just 4-H and FFA events, but the central focus of much that transpires at them is a celebration of the hard work 4-H'ers and FFA members have put forth on a wide array of projects during the last year. These festivals afford 4-H'ers and FFA members well-deserved opportunities to showcase their endeavors. For some, it is the culmination of the year's efforts. For others, it is one stop on the way to the Iowa State Fair.
Anyone who has taken a careful look at contemporary 4-H can't help but be impressed by the breadth of the projects 21st-century 4-H promotes. Some would be familiar to fairgoers of the past. The assorted agricultural and handicraft projects, though reflecting much new knowledge and science, certainly have roots in fairs of yesteryear. Other projects, exhibits and events illustrate the needs and interests of young people in this rapidly changing world and are far removed from yesterday's pursuits. FFA, similarly, has a distinctly 21st-century focus.
For county fairs to remain a vibrant part of contemporary life, they must change to reflect society. And they have.
Don't let this summer pass without taking the time to sample what your county fair has to offer. This year's fair schedule for Messengerland counties follows:
Calhoun County - July 9-13
Greene County - July 8-14
Hamilton County - July 22-28
Humboldt County - July 22-28
Kossuth County - July 29-Aug. 3
Palo Alto County - July 17-20
Pocahontas County - July 17-21
Sac County - July 23-26
Webster County - July 9-13
Wright County - July 9-14
Mark the appropriate dates on your calendar and plan to join your neighbors at the fair. You'll be glad you did.