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RBC I This is the time of year that 4-H and FFA members from Rio Blanco County are working diligently to complete their projects. Members are working with volunteers to finish their model rocketry or woodworking projects. Others are working on their sewing or cooking projects and still others are training their livestock and horse projects for show. The county fair is the culmination of a year of hard work, dedication, highs and lows and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Agricultural fairs began in the 19th century as a place where ranchers and farmers could celebrate the year and compete for honors of the finest crop or vegetable. They could measure their horses and livestock against others in the county or region. It was a place for fellowship, discussions of politics and for promoting local businesses and resources. It was a gathering place for education and socializing. By the end of the 19th century, nearly every state and province had one or more agriculture fair or exhibition. Today, more than 3,200 fairs are held in North America each year. It was and still is, a unique opportunity to unite a county for a single cause.
August in Northwest Colorado is fair time. It’s a place for those who can peaches and jams, grow vegetables, make quilts, take pictures, brew beer and wine and much more to gather and show off their accomplishments in home arts and crop competitions. It’s a place where 4-H and FFA members exhibit their projects, whether it’s a skirt, model rocket, lamb or horse. It’s a family gathering place where there are parades, carnivals, rodeos, horse races, concerts, dances, contests, barbecues and other community development events. The county fair is where agricultural and non-agricultural communities meet, maintaining local history and tradition and improving the quality of environment for our youth. When it comes down to it, it’s not the purple ribbons and awards received that make the fair valuable. It’s about good conversation, gathering with friends, entertainment and a celebration of the communities we live in. It’s why we live in northwest Colorado, it is a reminder of our history, tradition and a way of life we all value.
County fairs are dependent upon your participation. Get involved, be part of your county fair. You can enter your handiwork or home projects, you can volunteer to judge a contest, help with serving food or cleaning up, attend the shows and just show up to cheer the kids on. Without community participation, county fairs will disappear. We challenge you to pick up the phone, call the extension office, and find out how you can be part of the Rio Blanco County Fair. Who knows, you may just come home with a first-place ribbon (and we have beautiful, brand new ribbons!) Fair books will be available soon and can also be found at local grocery stores and post offices. Be sure to pick one up and check out how you can be involved in the fair. Look for future articles and information about contests, events and how to enter your exhibits at fair. As always, feel free to call or stop by the extension offices with any questions (Rangely office, 878-9495; Meeker office, 878-9490).