It’s that time again, The Big Fresno Fair is back for another year. Corn dogs, cotton candy, carnival rides, games, horse races and dozens of vendor booths with the latest “slice ’em and dice ’em” technology.
But let’s face it, the real origin of why The Big Fresno Fair even exists is agriculture. And while they are often just side notes to most visitors to the fair, the projects from our local 4-H and FFA students are great examples of how agriculture continues to be the lifeblood of our Central Valley.
Cooking, floriculture, arts and crafts, horticulture, welding and industrial technology are just a few examples of the types of projects that are on display from these students. Oh, yeah, and there are animals, lots and lots of animals. From bunnies to dairy cows, the fair has you covered.
While it’s very easy to just zip by these projects on your way to get one of those killer cinnamon rolls (man, those are good!), I encourage you to really take some time when you visit the southern most portion of the fair. As you walk through the Jr. Exhibit Building, take some time to really look at the quality of some of those projects and appreciate the raw skill that some of these students possess.
Take the welding projects, for example. Through their involvement in the 4-H and FFA organizations, some of these students have already developed trade skills that are not only good enough to find them employment straight out of high school, but may even be better than some of the professionals that are already in that industry.
And let’s not forget the Livestock Pavilion. While the kids pet the sheep and giggle at the pigs grunting, think about the hundreds of hours spent by those students that raised those animals. These are months, and sometimes years, long commitments by these students: feeding, washing, grooming, training, and if you ask around, I’m sure more than a few sleepless nights of staying up with sick animals to nurse them back to health.
And it’s not just the hours and hours of time that these students have spent on these projects. Whether it’s the materials used to build that trailer from scratch, or the feed, halters, medical treatment, etc. needed to raise those animals, these exhibitors have expended a lot of money out of their own pockets.
So during your trip to The Big Fresno Fair this year, as you see all of these students proudly exhibiting their projects, I encourage you to take a few minutes to give them a pat on the back for all of their hard work and dedication. Just a quick “good job” or maybe taking a few minutes to ask them about their project can go a long way for these kids. I promise you’ll see the sparkle in their eyes and hear the enthusiasm in their voice as they tell you about their accomplishments. And if you’re fortunate enough to be in a good enough financial position, perhaps consider supporting these local exhibitors at the livestock auctions on October 8th and October 15th. Remember, these are the same students who will be productive members of our society in just a few short years, and they may be feeding and clothing your family for many years to come.