- Editor’s Note: We sent Kane County Connects intern Allison Arguezo to the Kane County Fair to experience it for the first time. Here are her reflections on this year’s 150th anniversary edition and a look forward to next year.
This is Allison, one last time with the “Live From The Fair” articles.
I combined my Saturday and my Sunday in this article so that I could touch upon one of the defining aspects of the fair — the 4-H Club — and talk about my experience as a whole. Thanks for tuning in for these past days!
To start off, I arrived bright and early at the fair, Saturday, July 21, to catch a glimpse of the horse dressage show. I was never raised on a farm, so I had to ask the friendly people around me to explain what happens at a dressage competition. Here’s what I learned:
A dressage is a test that assesses the ability of the rider to control the horse’s movements. The rider will a pattern or sequence that may include the changing speeds of the horse, such as a walk to a trot or a canter to a gallop.
All of the horses were beautiful, each unique in its stature and coat. It was incredible to see the amount of control each rider had with his or her horse. All the riders were kids under 18, and they were all members of the 4-H club.
Q&A: What Is The 4-H?
The 4-H club is an organization that spans nationwide; the club gives new experiences to young kids and teens to explore different topics of interest.
The young 4-H’ers are given opportunities to find new passions, make new friends, and become better leaders all through acts of community service. Many of the attractions at the fair are hosted in accordance with 4-H members and their families.
The 4-H club has long been a tradition with the Kane County Fair. In fact, I even had the chance to interview a 4-H member.
Evelyn Scheel is 14-years old and she had just finished competing in the same horse dressage event that I was watching.
Q: What do you with 4-H?
A: “With 4-H, we do a lot of volunteer work. We go and decorate doors at nursing homes around Christmas Time. And we do a lot of fun (things), like Feed My Starving Children, that kind of stuff.
“During the fair, I have a horse down in the barn, Cas. We come and ride and have fun all together as a group.
“We have 4-H projects, and there’s everything from welding to art, to electronics, to whatever. I’ve done cake decorating for the past three years. I’ve done vet science, where you study a certain animal and have a poster about it.”
Q: How did you originally get involved in 4-H?
A: “My mom’s brothers and sisters were in 4-H. (My mom’s) cousin had her children in 4-H, and then my cousin is in 4-H. I don’t know, we’ve been doing it since I was little so we used to have a 4-H group where my aunt was the leader.”
Q: What do you do here in 4-H that is connected with the fair?
A: “The projects are all connected with the 4-H club — like you have to be in 4-H to do the projects.
“And then, our 4-H group has the biggest horse population. So that’s a big part of our 4-H group — the horses, rabbits, chickens, and cows and all the other animals.
“There’s the ice cream (station), where we all have shifts and we get to scoop out ice cream for everybody, and all of the money goes towards the 4-H Foundation.”
Q: So what would you say to someone who doesn’t know a lot about 4-H or is curious into knowing more about 4-H?
A: “It’s a lot of fun and it’s not a huge time commitment because it only meets once a month. And everything else is fun; everybody comes to hang out (to do) volunteer work or go to the fair. It’s just a lot of fun to be in.”
More And More Animals!
After my stop with the horses, I decided to spend time with the goats over at the sheep barn. Like in the horse barn, all of the animals were owned by 4-H members.
At the sheep barn, there was another judging, but this time it was for goats. The goats were market goats, so they were eventually going to be killed for their meat.
The goats were judged on the areas that produce desirable meat, such as the loins or the leg. They were also being judged on areas like their muscles, width, stance, and so much more. Who knew a market goat would have its stance evaluated?
Later, I was able to go and see the goats firsthand! I had such a fun time petting and feeding them. Even when I didn’t have food, they seemed to try to munch on anything in my hands — including my fingers!
It’s one thing to look an at the animal, but to feel their fur and pet them was a whole different experience. The goats were all so cute. Seeing them will be high on my priority list next year.
Learning a little more and more about 4-H brought me to the little ice cream shop right next to the 4-H office. The ice cream shop was a partnership with Colonial Cafe and the 4-H club. For every ice cream they sold, the money would go towards the 4-H foundation.
I love two things: One is ice cream, and the other is organizations that help others.
So I went in and bought an ice cream for myself. They had flavors ranging from the classics like vanilla and chocolate to more eclectic choices, like orange sherbet. I had my favorite: mint chocolate chip.
The lady who gave me my cone remarked on how popular mint chocolate chip was. Well, of course! Nobody can resist the perfect combination of chocolate and mint together. I quickly enjoyed my ice cream, and after I was done, I was ready to try another!
Soon after my little ice cream experience, I was walking around the fair when I caught sight of the Miller’s Petting Zoo. And in the petting zoo, I saw my favorite breed of chicken, the Silkie!
I couldn’t resist myself, I just had to get a better look at the cute, fluffy chicken — and admission was free!
The Silkie felt just as soft as it looked. While I was at the petting zoo, I took notice of all the adorable animals around me: ducks, chickens, goats, tiny pigs, cows, a giant rabbit, and even a donkey. It was a great experience to be able to see the animals up close and personal.
Overall Experience at The Fair
All in all, my first-time experience at the Kane County Fair went off with a hitch! I enjoyed seeing all the attractions, rides, food, and of course the animals.
This was also an educational experience. I could have never learned about so many things if I hadn’t gone out to the fair.
I can’t wait to come back next year. There’s a really big assortment of things to do, and you can’t just go one day to experience it all. I really wish I had more time this year.
If I had to pick a favorite part of the fair, I think it would be the animals. The Kane County Fair has always been tied to agriculture, and it’s agriculture that really makes it stand out from the rest. I’m not sure where else would I go to see goats, sheep, horses, chickens, cows and more all in one place.
If you couldn’t already tell, my favorite attraction from the fair was the Miller’s Petting Zoo.
I especially enjoyed the exhibits put on by the 4-H club, which is just a great organization. You can truly see the happiness from the kids’ faces from working with the animals. It is evident that they all share a unique bond with them.
If the animals and the 4-H club isn’t going to convince you to go to next year’s fair, then I’m sure the attractions will. Unlimited rides for only $20 — such a deal! Even the free attractions were spectacular. I personally loved being in the interactive game center, where every game is oversized.
If you go next year, my advice is to play those games, then grab some food. I had to really decide hard on what I was going to eat — there was just so many options — although nothing can beat the classic pretzel and turkey leg.
Conveniently, there is the vendor’s street full of commercial exhibits right next to all the food stands, a place to grab the perfect souvenir to commemorate the experience. Just remember to bring enough cash.
The fair has really made its mark here in Kane County. I was glad to be a part of its 150-year anniversary.
Read The Kane County Fair Series
- What To See And Do at Kane County Fair’s Spectacular 150-Year Anniversary Edition (July 18-22)
- 3 Outstanding Students Named Kane County Fair 4-H Scholarship Winners
- Live From The Kane County Fair! Ribbon Is Cut, Let The 150-Year Anniversary Begin!
- Live From The Kane County Fair! Day 3 Is For Food, Fun and Shopping!