Franklin County Fair 2019 is in the books. Ribbons have been awarded and premium money collected (and probably spent). Pig wrestling, the hypnotist and bull bonanza are only memories. The food booths are packed up yet the consequences of frequenting the booths are still packed in. The bunny barn has been emptied of its occupants and the plethora of produce, flowers, crafts, collections, artwork and other entries by county residents are either back with their owners or dumped in the round file. What a fair it was!

My corner of the fair is predominantly the Jr. Livestock Show and Auction. Youth from our county spent the summer caring for their animals, grooming and training them for showing, and then some animals were sold. Its always interesting loading up the livestock that went through the market animal sale. Some kids shed tears when their animal is loaded, others are more than happy to see their summer-long frustration sent down the road. Each kid spent many hours with their animals, gaining knowledge and skills that will stay with them long after their project was completed.

The level of community support for the fair is phenomenal. The fair would simply not happen without volunteers. The livestock portion is no exception. Livestock committee members, parents and others invest time to create quality experiences for the youth of our community. It isn’t perfect. Some categories need more participants. Some volunteers/parents do more than others. Competition for Grand and Reserve Champions sometimes creates conflict. Overall however the experience for the youth is exceptional.

The biggest event for livestock participants is the 4H/FFA Market Animal Show and Auction. This year 157 beef, swine, lambs and bucket calf projects were completed by 148 kids. Of these, 121 went through the fair livestock auction. There buyers, mostly representing local businesses, bought the animals for well beyond their market value. These 121 animals represent roughly $26,000 market value but buyers spent $124,000 on these animals in the 4H/FFA Market Animal Auction. This essentially means $100,000 was donated to the youth of Franklin County in support of their efforts this past summer. In addition to auction support, many businesses and acquaintances choose to ‘boost’ what the youth earn in the auction. We don’t yet know the amount for this year but last year boosts totaled roughly $25,000. Out of what they made on their animal, each youth must work out with their parent, grandparent or club leader what expenses they must pay.

Next year we are looking at more options to improve the livestock show. We want to increase the number of dairy cattle and dairy goat exhibitors. We are looking at including meat goats as a project alternative to show and sell. If you have ever considered participating in livestock at the Franklin County Fair, plan to join us next year. It will be better than ever.