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Guest Opinions

The Value of the Fair

Written by James Goodrich

After a year of hard work and preparation, the Wyoming State Fair (WSF) serves as the culminating statewide event for 4-H and FFA members across the state. Much like the Wyoming State Science Fair Competition, All-State Music Groups and others, the State Fair is the final competitive event for 4-H and FFA kids in Wyoming. It is also the only statewide agricultural event that showcases the industry and the work being done on farms and ranches across Wyoming.

A lot of time and hard work by youth who qualify to participate in the State Fair goes into the projects they showcase. With a focus on youth competition, the Wyoming State Fair provides a setting to showcase the career skills young people developed working on their projects like time management, organization, responsibility, public speaking and confidence. The skills these kids develop will not only help them succeed at the Wyoming State Fair but in their chosen career and workplace down the road.

Along with this, the Wyoming State Fair fills an important role in the agriculture industry by providing educational opportunities for participants and the general public alike. Sectors of the agriculture industry, such as cattle and hay, are major components of the fair, and being showcased in August supports the advancement of those and many other industries.

Even in a more rural state like Wyoming where a large portion of the population still has some connection to agriculture, the general public continues to moves further and further away from the industry. The fair is a hands-on and tangible way for the general public to connect with agriculture on a personal level.

Consumers can see where their food comes from.  Visitors can still see, touch, taste and smell agriculture. They can see a market steer on the hoof and begin to connect the steak on their table with the animal and the producer who raised it. Visitors can see beautiful fruits, vegetables and crops lined up for display and learn that all of it was grown right in their own backyard. It is an opportunity to showcase Wyoming’s agriculture industry to the public and allowing members of the industry to advocate for their own future.

The State Fair is a vital thread in the fabric that makes up Wyoming’s culture and heritage. The intrinsic value of the fair to young people, the agriculture industry and the culture of Wyoming is easy to see, even without taking in the significant economic impact of the Wyoming State Fair on Converse County.

We encourage you to make the trip to Douglas this year to walk through the barns to visit with some of the great kids who are the future of the agriculture industry in Wyoming, eat some of the great food from our vendors on the Midway, and experience the overall fun of the fair. See you in August.

The 2017 Wyoming State Fair, with the theme “Fair Skies,” is set for Aug. 12-19. For more about the Wyoming State Fair, visit wystatefair.com or call 307-358-2398.