Step Right Up to the County Fair!

By Holly Giles | Boy Crafting

fair

County fair

There is more to the county fair for the family than candied apples, fried Twinkies, and the Ferris wheel! It can be used to educate your children and learn new skills. As a child, I loved going to the fair.  My grandparents lived very close to the property where the Central Florida Fair took place and I could hear all the rides and fun happening at night while trying to sleep.  I couldn’t wait until I got to go and see all the farm animals and ride the rides. I enjoyed seeing all the items people had entered, the bee demonstration, and holding baby chicks. Of course, it was the one time a year that I got to have a candy apple that seemed to last for days.
I used to think that all the people who entered items at the fair were farmers. A friend of mine told me a few years ago, how she uses the fair as part of their homeschool. With a little investigation, I found out that the fair has so much to offer kids.  Even if you are not a part of a school organization, 4H, or FFA.  You can enter items as a resident in the same categories.

Lessons

We have now been entering items for three years.  Last year, I used it as a goal for the boys to go along with the lessons we studied at the time.  With each unit we covered, we did some type of handiwork to go along with it.  By the time the fair rolled around in November, the boys had accumulated quite a number of entries.
The Volusia County Fair that we enter has money associated with the ribbons of merit. The boys have earned up to $30 for total entries.  Last year, Crockett won the overall award for boys and received a trophy!  It is a pretty good self-esteem motivator to continue to work hard and learn a new skill.

Benefits

I share this with you because children of all ages, especially upper elementary and on can benefit from what your local or state fair has to offer.  For example, Scholarships, award money, ribbons, and other incentives, along with showing your accomplishments to your community.  We have met many homeschoolers during these few years, and love figuring out what we are going to enter the next year.
Each county or state is different. However, it is a matter of filling out your application for the items you are entering.  You would find that on their website.  They have very simple categories such as egg decorating,  Lego categories, and baking. Similarly, categories like recycling, sewing, artwork, and cake decorating. However, if what you made doesn’t doesn’t fit in a category just check the box for “other”. Usually, every child will receive a ribbon for participation.
Even moms can get in on the fair! I encourage you to do so!  I have been entering the baking division and canning.  I think the boys get more excited when I win a blue ribbon.  They are proud of their mom. It is good for them to see me doing something
 for myself sometimes!

All states have their fairs at different times, so check it out! Here in Florida, we start in November with the county and then can enter the next one in February for Central Florida.

So get out and see what your local fair has to offer, and don’t forget the candied apples!


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About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.

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