Kids find a way to enjoy the fair no matter what the weather

Kids find a way to enjoy the fair no matter what the weather
Dave Mast

Brant Burgett, right, is joined by Bradey Miller and Grant Harford in the animal barn at the Holmes County Fair during a rainstorm last year. Like many of the teens who are at the fair 24/7 throughout the week, they make their own fun, whether it’s raining or not.


Every year brings new challenges to those who attend the Holmes County Fair, but for the youth who spend every moment at the Harvest Ridge fairgrounds near Millersburg, the challenge can be unique when it comes to battling the weather.

Sometimes it is scorching heat. Other times like last year, a pair of downpours inundated the fairgrounds at Harvest Ridge, sending patrons scattering for cover.

Like many youngsters at the Holmes County Fair, Taylor Feikert joined her friends and played a game of euchre. Brant Burgett devoted plenty of time caring for his fair animals, in between simply chatting with friends to pass the time.

Regardless of how much it rains at the fair on any given year, Holmes County youth have no problem finding ways to entertain themselves during the fair’s seven-day schedule.

Thankfully, while the rains might have been a concern for keeping the public away, one thing the youth didn’t have to worry about at the new fairgrounds was the possibility that their animals’ lives would be in danger due to flooding.

With that no longer a concern, 4-Hers could focus on finding ways to pass the time until the sun came back out, which it eventually did later each evening as blue skies gave way to the tractor pull, the motocross and a full slate of rides.

Burgett sat in the animal barn with friends Bradey Miller and Grant Harford and relaxed, having finally fed and watered his hog and dairy feeder.

“You find stuff to do,” Burgett said of the rain delays. “It is always fun to be with friends, just sitting around talking and having fun.”

Like many, the Nashville Jolly Farmers 4-H club member spent the entire week at the fair, and dealing with the rain is just a part of it. However, amidst the fun is the chore of taking care of their animals, which Burgett said always comes first.

Brothers Rollin and Rhett Hendrix have a built-in partner for the fair, being siblings. Each of the brothers won a Showmanship Award last year, Rollin winning a Grand Champion Showmanship Award for market lamb.

The Prairie Partners 4-H club brothers spend the entire week at the fair, camping high atop the fair events on the hill. When the rains roll in, they watch movies in their family camper and try to get outside between the rain.

“There is always something to do, whether it is raining or shining,” Rhett Hendrix said. “We spend a lot of time with the animals.”

Rollin Hendrix won a Showmanship Award in just his second year, and he said it was nerve-racking but enjoyable.

“It’s nice that we can spend time together to do stuff,” Rollin Hendrix said.

Feikert, owner of the Reserve Grand Champion Beef Steer Award at last year’s fair, also spends the entire week at the fair, camping with her family and hanging out with friends.

Last year’s rain did little to dampen her spirits, as well as the spirits of her friends.

“When you are involved with 4-H and livestock, we are all about the same in what we like to do,” Feikert said. “All of my best friends are into raising animals too, so it is nice that we are all here together for a whole week sharing in something we all enjoy a lot. You find ways to invent your own fun. It’s never boring, whatever the weather might look like.”

Sage Miller and William Hughes sat in the dairy barn at last year’s Holmes County Fair playing a game of penny hockey.

Finding little games of one-upsmanship is always a fair-time pastime, and kids seem to have a knack for finding games, both store-bought and the made-up variety.

“The one thing that we all have is the responsibility of taking care of our animals,” Miller said.

“Being around friends and family, that is always a fun part of the fair for me, and that is always going to be a big part of the fair experience,” Matthew Hughes said.

That companionship, camaraderie and passion for the fair and spending time with friends always will be a huge part of what makes the Holmes County Fair fun for the youth. It also is why the Holmes County Fair board stays committed to remaining one of the few junior fairs in the state, keeping the fair focused on the kids.

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