How to Get Involved with Your County Fair

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So, you’ve heard about the STATE Fair, but do you know about your COUNTY Fair? Every county in Oklahoma holds its own Fair, typically in August or early September each year. Usually, it’s a collaborative effort among the Fairboard, Cooperative Extension Office staff, and volunteers involved, who coordinate and put on the county fair. 

I know some people may think it’s an antiquated event, where only farmers and their families are involved, showing animals and entering home-making crafts and goods. Yes, there are those things, but this event is for everyone, young and old.

Did you know you or your kid can enter photographs you’ve taken? Maybe you like to draw or paint. There’s a category for those. 

A few other categories that you may not know about: flowers, garden produce, Lego crafts, Duck tape crafts, ceramics, pottery, wood crafts, decoupage, handmade stationery, and tie-dye.

As an added bonus, if you place in the top three for most categories, you’ll win some money. We’re not talking big bucks here, but if you or your kids want a fun way to win about $5 (for each entry), have them make something for the county fair.

My son showing off his natural art craft at the county fair. It’s the one with the blue ribbon and leaves glued to the poster. He had so much fun collecting these items outside and making the craft.

My son did this when he was 3 years old and won a grand total of $11! He was so excited to get his check in the mail. For me, I usually like to enter my flowers from the garden and make baked goods. The pies earn $10 here if you win your category, but if you win the best pie overall, you win $100! I almost won the best pie overall one year with my blueberry custard pie. I’ve also made pecan pie, apple pie, and pumpkin pie. 

In addition to making things to enter into the fair, your kids might also enjoy seeing the animals there.

Most county fairs will have sheep, goats, pigs, cows, horses, poultry, and rabbits. My kids always like to go see the animals, no matter how stinky they are. I suggest wearing tennis shoes when you take them to the animals because you might get a bunch of dirty barn shavings on your bare feet if you wear sandals. 

Carnivals are starting to wane, but this might still be an option at your county fair. They’ll have rides and typical carnival food – corndogs, funnel cakes, and lemonade. The Ferris wheel is the iconic county fair symbol that most people think about, but they have other fun rides, as well. I have a fear of heights, so I can’t tell you any more than that about the rides. Can anyone chime in?

Food trucks might be an option at your fair, too.

If you’re like me, carnival food is overpriced and not appealing. Food trucks are much more appealing to me, as they offer other eating options and sometimes might be healthier and/or cheaper. Even still, if you don’t want food truck food, you can find the concession stand at your fair. They will have hamburgers, hotdogs, baked potatoes, etc., and are probably the cheapest option of the three food sources. 

Since I work for the Cooperative Extension Service, I help coordinate and run our county fair in Canadian County. Right now, we are busy planning ours, which will be at a new location after 66 years at 220 N. Country Club. If you’re in Canadian County, come see me in El Reno, off Hwy 81 and Jensen Rd! Our fair this year is August 23rd-28th, but if you need more info about your county fair, contact your local County Extension office.

If you do end up getting involved in your county fair, I just want to say good luck! 

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