County Fair ride

The Harvey County Fair got under way Saturday, August 2. I spent part of the day at the fair, assisting with check-in for Open Class drawings and paintings of all types from artists of all ages.

It was uplifting and encouraging to see so many kids bringing in work. One woman who teaches in the public school system and home school, brought in a collection of work by several of her students. The kids ranged in age from first graders and under to third and fourth graders. The imagination and talent exhibited in the collection is probably equaled only by the enthusiasm of those kids who stopped by to see the exhibit after it was set up. The cries of “There’s my drawing” and “I got a blue ribbon!” was a delightful accent to the buzz and activity that is the soundtrack for any county fair.

It took me back to the years when I exhibited regularly in the local county fair and to the couple of years when I exhibited at half a dozen or more county fairs. What fun days those were! Back then, I thought my success as an artist was a given. The sky was the limit and there was nothing standing in my way.

Ah, for the bliss of youth!

As much as I enjoyed seeing colorful ribbons fluttering from my work, though, there were other, more important attractions at the county fair. Horses.

I’ve always been drawn to the animal exhibits at county fairs, but horses were always the highlight of fair week. Whether it was the selection of 4-H classes, the open class horse show at the end of the week, or the big horses brought in for halter classes, driving classes, and horse pulls, if there was a horse involved, I was there if at all possible.

Now, however, after 12 years of city living, all of the animal exhibits draw me in. I walked slowly through the cattle barn on the way from the Open Class art exhibit to the car, for example. Inhaling the atmosphere. Itching to pet one of the curious cattle. The Holstein dairy cattle on exhibit were especially beautiful.

All the sights and sounds served to take me back to my days as an exhibitor and frequent visitor. There truly is nothing like a county fair to complete the summer.

Seeing the work of other local artists and artists-to-be is a great source of personal motivation, too.

Take time to stop for a visit at your county fair. Enjoy the atmosphere. Look at the exhibits. Then, if you’re an artist, go home and make some art of your own!