It’s fair season across the state of Iowa, and each county will be hosting week long fairs, offering the county a wide variety of exhibits, fun, and live entertainment. On the first week of August, Clayton County hosts their fair, with different livestock and non-livestock exhibitions throughout the week from 4-H and FFA members. I was a 4-H member when I was in grade school, and fair season was always my favorite time of the year.
One of the best things about fair season is the food; they offer a variety of carnival foods and local food booths run by clubs that support the fairgrounds. My favorite sweet treat to get at the fair is a milkshake from the Dairy Bar. In the middle of summer, there’s nothing like a cold, sweet, thick milkshake to cool off with. When I walked past the Lutheran Church food booth, the mere aroma of burgers on the grill made my mouth water. To go with my steaming hot cheeseburger, I got a cup of homemade pickles; they were sweet, with a perfect bite of vinegar. When paired with my cheeseburger, it was the perfect combination of flavors.
Every day at the Clayton County fair featured different livestock shows, and livestock animals were kept on the fair for the whole week. To pass time, I would always go through the animal barns and see the exhibits. Cows were always a fair favorite, though I would also take a moment to admire the rabbits, chickens, and water fowl. There was always a little chatter between the chickens, and once in a while a rooster would crow, and would be heard over the commotion of the barn. In water fowl cages, ducks would quack softly to themselves, unless they got excited by the sight of their owner coming to feed them. While I was going through the barns, the beef show was going on, so I meandered over to the large arena and watched the judging.
The 4-H and FFA members would come in with their beef cattle, which stood taller than some of the kids handling them! A few would try to jerk away from their handlers, though most of them were rather calm about the process. As they circled the arena, the judge would carefully watch the way the handlers showed their cattle, and take mental notes of the shape and form of the exhibit. Personally I wouldn’t have known what to look for, yet after the judge picked out his favorites, he explained the traits and physical attributes he looked for in beef. Once he explained what he looked for, I made a game out of guessing which bull would win the next group.
The Clayton County Fair is something I look forward to every year, and every year is full of fun, entertainment, and great fair food. There’s always something to do, whether it’s going on rides, playing carnival games, or seeing livestock exhibit animals. It’s one of the last fairs of the season, and I can’t wait for this year’s fair.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Clayton County Fair