County Fairs Are Still Important

County Fairs Are Still Important

There's more to fairs than just fried food and Ferris wheels.
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Like many people, I used to have the same thoughts, "Oh it's just a county fair." However, this year was the first time in eleven years I stepped foot on to the Rock Island County Fairgrounds with out any animals or other 4-H projects to exhibit. Instead, I spent the week watching from an entirely new perspective that gave me a whole new appreciation for what I used to consider "just a county fair".

More and more, society has begun to question the relevance and value of a county fair when less than 2 percent of the population is actively involved in production agriculture. This question alone proves to me that county fairs are more important than ever. Fairs and livestock exhibitions are the foundation for agriculture promotion in our society and, as our population continues to shift to a more urban demographic, it is the responsibility of a county fair to remind the public of the key role that agriculture, and rural communities, will continue to play in our economy and daily lives.

Fairs not only promote agriculture, but also supply jobs; support rural economic development and local commerce; and provide opportunities for youth and adult education. The success of a fair is dependent on its volunteers and youth through programs like 4-H, whether they’re exhibiting livestock, crops and clothing or newer projects like film making. Speaking from my own personal experience, I am so thankful for the opportunity to show livestock at the fair.

My experiences aided in providing me with hands-on learning about the realities of food production as well as gaining major life skills such as communication and responsibility that molded me into a well functioning member of society.

Many years ago, a simple gathering for commodity trade began as a way to bring friends and neighbors together to showcase hard work and effort. These things still matter. Fairs are the connecting point of the people and products that showcase our heritage. I wholeheartedly believe in fairs and what they can do for a community and even the participants.

I encourage everyone to take time this summer to visit your local county or state fair. Take a stroll through the barns, strike up a conversation with a young exhibitor about his, or her, project. Watch the 4-H auction, maybe bid on an animal, and see how the hard work put in by the owner truly pays off. Experience a demolition derby, a concert, or play some carnival games with your family. Whether you are lifetime attendee or have never set foot on a fairgrounds, now is the best time to get involved in one of our countries oldest traditions- you will not regret it.


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An Open Letter To Every Girl With A Big Heart, Except When It Comes To Herself

Because it's so much easier to love everyone around you before yourself.
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They say the key is that you have to "love yourself before you can love anyone else," or before "anyone can love you."

For those who deal with mass amounts of anxiety, or have many insecurities, that can be an extremely hard task. It seems much easier to tell your friend who is doubting herself that she looks great in that top than to look in the mirror and feel the same about yourself. It is much easier to tell your significant other that everything is going to be OK than to believe it will be when something goes wrong in your life. It becomes easier to create excuses for the ones around you than for yourself, and this is because you have such a big heart. You want those that you love to be happy and worry-free, yet you spend nights thinking about everything you have on your plate, about what you did wrong that day, fearing if someone in your life is mad at you, believing that you will never be good enough yet convincing everyone else that they are.

You are the girl with the biggest heart, yet you can't love yourself the way you care for everyone else in your life. There are many reasons that you should love yourself, though, and that's something that everyone around you is willing to tell you.

You're thoughtful.

Before doing anything, you always consider how it is going to affect those around you. You don't want to do anything that could hurt someone, or something that could make someone mad at you. It does not take much to make you happy, just seeing others happy does the job, and it is that simple. Because of this, you remember the little things. Meaningful dates, small details, and asking someone how their day was is important to you, and it makes those around you feel important too. You simply just want the people that you care about to be happy, and that is an amazing trait.

You're appreciative.

You don't need a big, fancy, and expensive date night to make you happy. Whether it's a picnic on the beach or a night in watching a movie, you're happy to just be with the person that you love. You appreciate every "good morning" text, and it truly does mean something when someone asks how you are. You tend to appreciate the person that you're with more than the things that they provide and for that, your sincerity will never go unnoticed.

You have a lot of love in your heart.

Every "I love you" has meant something, just as you remember the smallest moments that have meant the most to you. You remember the look in your significant other's eyes when they told you that for the first time. You remember the smile on your best friend's face when you told them that everything was going to be OK and that you would always be there. You remember the swell of happiness your parents felt when you decided to surprise them with a trip home one day, and you thrive off of all of that love.

You don't give up on the people you love, even if they have given you a reason to.

It is a foreign idea to just drop someone from your life, even if they betrayed you. You try to look at their mistake from every stance, not wanting to provide an excuse for them, but to give them another chance. Not everyone deserves it, and that is something that you learn along the way, but you feel good in the sense that you gave them a chance even if no one else would.

It's OK to not love yourself all the time. It's normal, and natural to stand in the mirror and think about everything wrong. And it's OK to love other people, even when you can't feel the same about yourself. But your big heart is why you should love yourself. There are so many reasons that you are a beautiful person, and the people that you spend all your time caring about feel that you have so much more to offer the world, and yourself.

So, next time you think about what you don't like about yourself, remember what makes you special –– the size of your heart and all of the love in it, and then share that love with yourself.

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Season 3 Of 'Queer Eye' Provides Everything You Need Right Now

Yes, I love Queer Eye.

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Let's talk about Netflix. And by that I mean let's talk about the best show Netflix has every brought us: "Queer Eye."

For those of you who are thinking "Umm... what the heck is that?" I'm here to tell you all about this life-changing and personality-altering show.

"Queer Eye" is simple: five gay men come into the lives of people who just need a little bit of a boost to get their lives on track. They're typically straight men but season 3 of the show, which was recently released on Netflix, also features a pair of a sisters and a strong, black, lesbian woman.

I know at first glance that this show can seem extremely superficial, one-dimensional and, to be frank, stupid. But "Queer Eye" is about so much more than just changing your hair and clothes and updating your house so you have a fancy new couch to sit on at the end of the day.

"Queer Eye" is all about discovering who you are and treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated. It discusses difficult topics such as gun control and homelessness for LGBTQ teens in the U.S. It's a feel-good show that reminds you that you need to take care of yourself because you are worthy and deserving.

So yes, "Queer Eye" can be a silly show that teaches you the French Tuck and some new recipes to try out in your kitchen. But it's also so much more than that. So settle down, pull up Netflix, and be ready to bawl your eyes out during season 3 because it will make you feel a lot of things.

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