A little cool and wet weather didn't spoil the fun of the 126th annual Wadena County Fair that ended Sunday, June 23.
From full animal barns to more food options, people had more to see and eat this time around.
"The 4-H animal numbers were up overall seeing growth particularly in sheep, goat, and dairy and maintaining our numbers in beef, horse, rabbit, and swine," according to 4-H coordinator Virginia Hendrickx. "The 4-H food stand stayed consistently busy-even at odd times of the day, and considering the cooler weather our ice cream stand did as well. Our shows all went well with many judges taking the time to explain to kids and audiences how and why they were placing animals where they did and judging by the families that we talked to, a lot of learning took place which is always our goal."
Indoor exhibits were also consistent but a new fundraising project saw quite a backing in the first year.
"This year, we tried something new and told youth that they could put one of their static exhibits on a silent auction voluntarily," Hendrickx said in an email. "We assumed that it would take two to three years to catch on but we had 24 exhibits on it this first year."
The auction went over well with one item even bringing $205.
"It's a great incentive to keep kids exhibiting in 4-H and I think in the long run we'll see more higher quality projects coming-though honestly, that's not been an issue here in Wadena," Hendrickx added.
Wadena County Ag Society secretary Kylene Lehmann said she was impressed with the numbers showing up for the open beef class. There were about 60 head, with some coming from two hours away to display their cattle in what's one of the first fair platforms in the region for the summer schedule.
"Overall I think we're fairly pleased with how the events turned out," Lehmann said.
She was particularly pleased with the Sebeka and Menahga FFA chapters that stepped up to put together their own petting zoo that included demonstrations, kids play areas and pens to meet some farm animals. It's an area she hopes to see expand in coming years.
The open class dairy show also had a strong showing in the calf class, which had 23 head handled by little kids from the region.
"It gives you hope for our future 4-H and FFA," Lehmann said.
Other areas that saw great turnouts was the first Mutton Bustin event, the kiddie tractor pull, which brought out 80 kids and the popular two-for-one demo derby/enduro race, which saw a packed grandstand.
It was a success from the eyes of Ag Society board member Brittney Ewert, who has been on board for six years.
I just like seeing all the families having fun, experiencing the fair," Ewert said.
Though some wet weather may have hindered some from coming, she saw a great deal of people from the region come out for some experiences they couldn't get anywhere else.
One issue that came up was the parking concerns, which was at times a problem because of the amount of people coming out to the different events.That's a good problem, but an issue Lehmann said they hope to tackle for the next fair, planned for June 25-28, 2020.
The Wadena County Ag Society is a non-profit organization that is able to put on the fair through generous sponsors and volunteers. If you are interested in being a part of the fair consider becoming a volunteer or put your name in to be a board member. There are currently three open spots with an election coming in October. Membership in the fair is $5.