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Editorial: Volunteer fair board makes event success

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The Johnson County fair saw a week’s worth of good weather, bringing large crowds in the evenings.

While no attendance figures are kept, one building superintendent said the crowds in her area were as good as she had ever seen.

But this great slice of Johnson County life and heritage doesn’t come off successfully without the Herculean efforts of the fair superintendents and the support of the livestock buyers.

The five fair board officers, 16 other directors, three Purdue Extension educators and their interns, the fairgrounds groundskeeper and numerous other volunteers put in countless hours to direct the largest community event of each year. They donate their time, talents and skills because they believe in the benefits of 4-H programs for children and because the fair is one of the county’s entertainment highlights of the year.

Fair board service is long-term for some members. Serving 10 or more years is not uncommon. For some families, service to the fair spans generations.

Such levels of support is also evident among buyers at the annual livestock auction.

The auction features dozens of bidders. Last year’s auction brought in more than $261,000, and this year’s total should be close to that. The auction total is achieved because generous buyers paid far above animal market values. Buyers didn’t mind, though, because the money supports the kids who participate in 4-H.

For many young exhibitors, auction checks form the basis for next year’s entries. One youngster used $700 from the sale of a goat to buy three more animals. Another uses the money to pay for feed. But for many, the proceeds go into their college funds.

Fair board members and livestock buyers don’t garner a lot of attention at the fair, typically preferring to keep the focus on the 4-H participants. We understand that but want to shine a deserving spotlight on them — and all fair backers — anyway to say thanks for a job well done.

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