Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Porterville Fair

The Porterville Fair

The Porterville Fair has come and gone. I have recuperated from early morning trips to the fairgrounds before work to feed and water my daughter’s rabbits. No more mad dashes after work to the fairgrounds to switch out fresh ice bottles for the rabbits’ cages. Everyone survived another year of overpriced fair food. In fact, although small in numbers, our little Springville 4-H rabbit project group did quite well with their rabbits: Micaela, my daughter, won junior showmanship and best of breed and best opposite with her New Zealand brokens. Mason and his brother Eric seemed to have a good time also. Eric, a mini-member, won his ribbon for participation, and his older brother placed fourth in novice showmanship and won best of show with his Joe Lugo Dutch junior buck.

Community involvement is what keeps our little fair going. There are many county fairs, but few city fairs like the Porterville Fair. Local farmers and business leaders volunteer their time and produce a wonderful experience for the entire Porterville community. Each year my daughter takes off three days from school to show her rabbits, help friends with their sheep, pigs, and goats, and ride the midway’s old favorites and new adventures. I hope the simple joys and values of the ag lifestyle stay with my daughter as she ages and goes away to college. Maybe one day she will volunteer to help a committee at the Porterville Fair or make mad dashes to the fairgrounds before work to support her future 4-H daughter.

Although I enjoy the fair each year, I miss the community volunteer groups who used to cook and serve delicious homemade food. I cannot go to the fair and experience the mouth watering, giant barbequed ribs from St. Anne’s church. Gone are the strawberries and shortcake from the Job’s Daughters’ booth. I miss saying hello to community members I have not seen since last year’s fair. Remember the funnel cake with whip cream piled high? I know new regulations and a new fairgrounds necessitated new traditions, but the fair board should work to find ways to bring back the civic groups who volunteered and profited from feeding fair goers each year. Now, we just eat before we go to the fair or wait until we leave the fairgrounds. Why pay $4 for an under cooked corn dog, when we can buy corn dogs for $1.50 at the local Shell on Highway 65.

I suppose I should cherish these fair moments, like watching our daughter try to show a pigmy goat in the small animal round robin. Next year, she will be a big eighth grader and that will probably be her last year in 4-H and showing at the fair. With sports, AP classes, and scheduling conflicts due to the implementation of career pathways, she is unlikely to be able to participate in FFA and not many 4-Hers continue once in high school.

Lastly, a thank you to all who volunteer long hours to make this community fair special and continue the tradition of the Porterville Fair. Did I mention that there were 42 meat pens entered in the Porterville Fair rabbit show? Forty-two!