Everything Bremerton: Fair lessons for life

County fairs are about so much more than the razzle-dazzle of the rides, games and the sale of clever gadgets that slice, dice, chop and spin. The day they start selling a gadget at the fair that takes out the garbage and cleans the toilets is the day I am the first one in line.

Wednesday August 25 kicks off the start of the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede which runs through August 29.

As a kid growing up, I looked at the county fair as not only a very fun time but also the cumulative reward and final deciding moment for a years’ worth of very hard work. That is because I was a 4-H member. I showed everything from chickens, ducks, horses and dogs and also competed in public speaking competitions. My husband Jason was also a member of 4-H and FFA for several years of his youth. We are the successful adult byproducts of these wonderful programs. They taught us useful skills, better communication and personal presentation and, most importantly, laid a foundation of responsibility that carries through with us to this very day.

When you check out the animal barns at the fair this year keep in mind many of the kids have worked their tails off to get these animals trained and ready. Early morning feedings, stall cleanings and water hauling before school. Grooming, exercising and training after school. Not to mention attending the monthly weekend club meetings.

Animals, while the most recognizable and popular face of 4-H, are really only one of many. If you head over to the Presidents Hall, a whole other world of 4-H starts to appear. Everything from photography, art, needlework, gardening, archery and stewardship are on full and glorious display. Too many activities to list but surely something for everyone.

4-H engages more than 87,000 youth through the program every year, according to the Washington State University Extension program, which oversees the 4-H programs in this state.

Take your family and enjoy the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede this year. Be sure to check out the 4-H programs and the projects with a new appreciation for the hard work and dedication the members have put into it. You never know who they are going to turn out to be. Some famous 4-H members you might recognize are Faith Hill, Johnny Cash, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Roy Rogers, Johnny Carson, Al Gore and Reggie White, just to name a few.

Hey, if you are there and you run across that gadget I was talking about, e-mail me right away.

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