Dozens of families have packed up and are ready to spend the next week at the fairgrounds.

Sam Trout, 15, is one of those 4-H’ers who spends the week living at the fairgrounds. For him, it’s one of his favorite weeks of the year because it’s like a vacation.

“All my friends are out here so it’s so cool and fun,” Trout said. “It’s nice to just hang out and have fun.”

Many families live in campers during the week of the fair so they do not have to travel back and forth between their home and the fairgrounds.

Grace Kidwell, 18, shows pigs at the fair. For 10 years, she has spent a week living at the Johnson County fairgrounds every year.

“It’s fun because you get to be out here right in the midst of it all and be with a lot of people who share common interests with you,” Kidwell said.

But it is also convenient. Animals require a lot of maintenance, so when they need their pen cleaned first thing in the morning or need to be groomed, Kidwell can simply walk over to their pen.

Although everyone is competing against each other, they’re all a family, Trout said.

“You really get to know each other when you’re out here and we share everything from food to memories,” Trout said.