Kids, the fair’s real heart
It’s fair week in Eagle, which means a lot of locals dust off their cowboy boots and get their “Western” on at the rodeo performances.Rodeos are fun. But to really get a feel for the heart of a county fair, tour the exhibit hall and the livestock barn. That’s where locals – kids mostly – display the results of nearly a year’s hard work.The exhibit hall is filled with “open class” exhibits from adults, everything from home-brewed beer to needlepoint to spectacular vegetables. The prizes are meager, ribbons mostly, but the pride in the work these friends and neighbors do is obvious.That pride spills over to the booths run by each of the county’s 4-H clubs. Those clubs help kids learn skills ranging from model rocketry to leathercraft and sewing to obedience-training the family dog. And that doesn’t count the horse riders and the small group of local kids who still raise large farm animals.Watching a cat show or cattle show isn’t something a lot of people do, but it’s worth spending a few minutes to see the kind of work that goes into a fair project. It takes about two minutes to see that these are very definition of good kids.If this sounds a little hokey to those who constantly worry about the upvalley resorts maintaining a “world class” image, so be it. The skills these kids learn from starting a project, then seeing it through to its end, are valuable to any college, and, later, any employer.It’s easy to look at the latest test scores, or the latest survey of high schoolers who can’t find their home state on a map, and despair for the next generation. Optimism for the future is easy to find this week. It’s in Eagle, down at the county fairgrounds.S.M.