12 Truths For Anyone Who's Shown At The Fairfield County Fair

12 Truths For Anyone Who's Shown At The Fairfield County Fair

That's FCF if you didn't know.
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When the start of October rolls around, most people are gearing up for Halloween but for me as a kid, that wasn't even on my radar. That's because, for me, October was all about the Fairfield County Fair. The last fair in the state of Ohio, it's a little different than some others. But, if you've ever been an exhibitor at good ol' FCF, there are some things you know to be true.

1. It's a family affair.

Chances are the reason that you started showing, regardless of what species or project, is that someone else in your family did before you, whether it be your siblings, your parents or even your grandparents. And everyone in the family helps chip in. You wash together, feed together, win together, lose together and enjoy every moment of it together.

2. Everyone knows everyone.

Hope you're not trying to keep a low profile because that will never happen! With as many kids have gone through those barns you'd think it'd be hard to keep track of them all but LOL it's not apparently. Everybody actually knows everybody.

3. Last names carry a lot of weight.

And because everyone knows everyone that means everyone knows your last name. Last names carry weight on those grounds as does who you're related to, period. Every year they try to get livestock judges who aren't local so there's no bias, but that doesn't mean it's the same out of the ring.

4. Certain families dominate every year.

They said it best on the auction block this year, "There are just some names you see posted in that class list and you know they're probably gonna win." This is absolutely true. It could be showmanship and they're just that good, or it could be market classes and their animals are just that good, there are some families that just always did extremely well. Matter of fact, during my years it was the Bachmans and the Millers, you never forget these things.

5. Making the queens court is a big deal.

Come early Monday morning and everyone is asking one question; who was named Junior Fair Queen? Fairfield County is pretty cool too. While many counties do pageants, ours select the top ten applicants –– more than double what some counties even have in applications –– for a business formal interview. Everyone fills the stands for Panorama Sunday night just to watch the crowning at the very end.

6. Everyone's chasing a purple banner.

After the queen's crowned, now everyone wants to know who's gonna win it all in every species. Everyone out there is gunning for Grand Champion. The number one spot at the sale and bragging rights for the next year, who wouldn't want it? Of course, that's all up to the judge and everyone has different opinions. Regardless of who wins, it'll be the talk of the rest of the week.

7. Senior showmanship is cutthroat.

A lot of times in just about any species you'll see massive classes in the youngest age groups of showmanship and they slowly get a little smaller til you get to the senior division. That doesn't make it any easier. In fact, it just gets harder. Yes, you get better each year, but so does everyone else and the tougher the judges are on you. Your senior showmen are normally the best of the best and one little mistake can make a big difference.

8. Fall weather is referred to as fair weather.

If you showed in Fairfield County, you know what it means when someone refers to fall as fair weather. Most counties have their fairs in the heart of the summer, but being in October often means it's a little cooler and the leaves are changing. Really, it's just fair weather.

9. But the weather is still unpredictable.

You really never know what you're going to get weather-wise with a fair this late in the year. While you expect it to be a little chilly, which is normally is some years, you don't always expect nearly eighty-degree heat like we had this year in 2017. Other years it's actually been that hot at the start of the week then snowed by the end. And don't forget the rain or tornado warnings. Good times.

10. The best fair food comes from a crockpot.

Sure now, you've always gotta get yourself some chicken noodles from the Amanda Clearceek stand, a breakfast sandwich from Rubes or fish from Madisons, but that's not always the real best of the fair food. The best fair food comes in the form of crockpots and covered dishes stashed in the campers. As an exhibitor, your mom or your friends' moms always made the absolute best food ever for everyone. And it's free!

11. The people watching is the best.

I'm not afraid to say that there are some interesting people who come to the county fair. And I mean really, really interesting. Any 4-H or FFA family knows they love to people watch even if they won't admit it. I mean come on, it's better than reality TV.

12. It'll always be the best time of year.

As I've grown older the generation I grew up with has become advisors, the ones above us have children, and the advisors have become Senior Fair Board or committee members, and the older board members are now buyers. But we all keep coming back year after year, because no matter how old we get or where life takes us, we wouldn't miss it for the world. After all, we save the best fair for last, and there's no better time of year than the Fairfield County Fair.


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10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

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Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

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Profit Over The People

Diversity comes in various forms; whether it be culturally or fiscally, there are several ways to identify people as similar or different. The city of Miami, FL loves to advertise its diversity when it comes to attracting tourists, yet it is choosing profit over its people.

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The google definition for gentrification is "the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste." Which seems extremely palatable, but the gross and harsh reality is that gentrification is the destruction of housing in impoverished areas to then construct neighborhoods of higher value. And in that process, the homes, memories, and culture of those areas are erased off the face of the earth as if they never existed.

The residents of these homes do receive compensation for giving up their homes, but not nearly enough to find an alternative housing solution. This has been the case for the city of Miami for quite some time now; placing shopping malls and luxury condominiums on top of the memories and homes of families that have resided in the same area for decades on end.

According to the 2015 and 2016 census, Miami ranks second worst in the nation for income and poverty levels, yet officials deem it appropriate to further the expansion of luxury living and attraction by ridding of the low-income communities. The homeless population in the city of Miami has been a major concern for years; but instead of addressing said issue, they are simply contributing to it by further permitting these expansions to occur.

These construction projects not only contribute to pre-existing traffic problem in the city of Miami due to overpopulation but leaves those who once had a home, out on the streets. There is a total of 179,200 households in Miami-Dade County, 44% of those house children under the age of 18 years old and the household poverty rate in Miami- Dade County was 21.3%, according to the 2013 ACS.

What are the odds of there being households that fall under both of those categories; not only is gentrification putting paying citizens out on the streets, but their children as well.

Allowing the private agendas of public officials affect our neighbors in such a manner is merciless. A large part of Miami consists of low-income areas, yet they have been falling off the map little by little over time. They are starting from the bottom up, and what once was considered a middle-class community will soon be deemed a low-income area in comparison to new structures.

When will it stop? The living expenses in Miami are already unmanageable, but if this continues Miami will soon lose all of its original residences and cultures. Left in the remains of a once culturally thriving and accepting community will be a playground for the wealthy, built on the soil of what used to be home to a culturally, economically and experientially diverse community.

The unfortunate matter is that this isn't only happening in the city of Miami, but in various large cities across the country. Pushing low-income housing off the map, contributing to the homeless population, to then drive initiatives to relocate the homeless if they are found in affluent neighborhoods.

How can one rise to the occasion in hopes of creating a better life, if they are constantly being pushed down by institutionalized prevention? Gentrification is a national issue; a country that prides itself on opportunity and progress is slowly evolving into a country for the wealthy.

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