Lake County Fair
The Lake County Fair is a fanfare event that has been around almost one hundred years. The Lake County Fair, 4-H, and FFA programs have generations of families who believe in the values that these programs pass down to our youth. The fair provides youth with an opportunity to showcase their annual project.
Every year youth, ages 5-18, raise livestock projects to enter into the fair. While the fair did not happen in 2020 due to COVID-19, opportunities were made available to youth who registered a livestock animal. The Lake County Fair hosted a virtual livestock show and Lake County 4-H offered a virtual Skill-a-thon.
A requirement for entering an animal into the fair is submitting a record book per animal division. At the Lake County Fair youth can enter the following animals: poultry, rabbits, goats, swine, and cattle. Some youth enter only one project animal while some youth enter an animal in almost every division. Livestock projects teach youth to develop character and experience personal growth through their animal projects. The Lake County Fair is the final stretch of their project as it provides youth with the opportunity to showcase what they have learned while competing in the livestock shows, record book judging, and skill-a-thon.
Livestock projects teach youth responsibility, dedication, and the value of hard work. 4-H and FFA members must care for and manage their animals on a daily basis as well as complete a record book. Record books teach youth how to track finances, set goals, and summarize their annual project. These skills can be used throughout their life as they enter adulthood. This year 353 record books were submitted to the fair for grading, youth are unable to show if they do not submit a record book.
Livestock shows focus on two parts: conformation of the animal and the exhibitor’s handling of their animal. During the livestock show, judges come in to determine if their project animal meets the standards of perfection based on breed and variety. The judge has a complicated job as he has to pick the animals which exhibit the best qualities of that particular animal division. After the judge has determined the top animals, the judge moves to showmanship. Showmanship focuses on how much the exhibitor knows about their project and how well they can handle their animal.
Skill-a-thon is the final component of the fair. Skill-a-thons examine the exhibitor’s knowledge of their animal division by taking a test. Youth are able to identify breeds, body parts, and equipment while answering questions based on a theme. This year’s theme is reproduction and in past years skill-a-thon has focused on nutrition, animal health, and products/marketing.