Only two weeks left before it's fair time by M. Jill Karolevitz Even though the Clay County Fair is coming up in two weeks, it�s not later than you think. This year�s event has been scheduled for July 20-22 � rather than August � to work better with the earlier South Dakota State Fair.
For years, the work of South Dakota�s 4-H�ers culminated in a Labor Day trip to the State Fair in Huron where they compete against other 4-H exhibitors. But that long-standing tradition changed when State Fair officials decided to move this year�s starting date to the week beginning July 31. For many counties, including Clay County, that meant schedules had to be juggled. But Virginia Delvaux, Extension educator, says the change in fair dates will be a good thing for
�We�ve always had the feeling that many of our youth, especially those in middle and high school, couldn�t take time away from classes to attend the state fair,� Delvaux said. �Changing the dates will alleviate that problem. They can go to what we call their ?state tournament.� If you look at school activities, there are state basketball tournaments, state football tournaments and state debate events that students try to reach. The state fair is the same thing for 4-H�ers and now those who qualify with purple ribbons will have the opportunity to attend because of the earlier schedule.�
Although planning for the earlier Clay County Fair has been in the works for about a year, it has posed a challenge for some 4-H families.
�Some have been caught off guard this year,� Delvaux said. �The time just snuck up on them. But after a year or so, everyone will be used to it and it will be okay.�
There will be some differences to watch for as achievement days get under way, she added.
�Horticulture will be hurt the most,� Delvaux said. �The varieties will be a little different � we�ll have more radishes, peas and beans and the like, because the traditional garden crops such as squash and watermelons won�t be ready. But state fair officials added more lots to the horticulture division with that in mind.�
Four-H�ers who enter livestock are also making adjustments.
�We were talking about that during the recent livestock judging school,� Delvaux said. �We will see a lot lighter animals, but that�s something that will be taken into consideration.�
Several new events have been added to this year�s line up of events at the Clay County Fair. A mailbox decorating contest gives people the chance to show off their artistic style. Sixty rural mailboxes were donated by Joe Reedy for whoever wanted to pick one up and enter the contest. The Clay County Democrats are sponsoring $100 in prize money for the contest.
�We also have a new floral arrangement contest,� Delvaux said. �It will take place in the exhibitor building and be a ?viewers choice� judging. Whoever wants to ?vote� on a winner can do so.�
Youngsters can also participate in �Bubble-ology� on Friday from noon to 4 p.m.
�There will be four different stations in which kids will have the opportunity to learn how bubbles are made and the colors they create,� Delvaux said.
Another special event is the Pie and Cookie Auction on Saturday.
�The funds raised go to the Clay County Youth Trust Fund,� Delvaux said. �This event helps increase our number of scholarships that we offer to local youth. And this day and age, every little bit helps.�
There will be no carnival at the Clay County Fair this year, however, several inflated slides and jumping activities will be available, and mini-golf will be set up. Free horseback rides are also scheduled and entertainment abounds � from the Fashion Revue on Thursday night, to a magic show and the Demolition Derby on Friday, along with performances by the South Dakota Old Time Fiddlers and Sweetwater on Saturday.
�The fair has always been a good place for entertainment,� Delvaux said. �Admission is free and it offers great fun for the whole family.�
Events for the Clay County Fair include:
Thursday, July 20
Swine Show 8 a.m.; poultry show 11 a.m.; 4-H Livestock Judging School 3 to 5 p.m.; Open Class and 4-H Bake Sale 5 p.m.; Fashion Revue 6 p.m.; Open Class Horse Show 6:30 p.m.
Friday, July 21
Rabbit Show 8 a.m.; Sheep Show 10:30 a.m.; Exhibit Buildings and Commercial Booths open noon to 10 p.m.; Children�s Activity �Bubble-ology� noon to 4 p.m.; Goat Show 2 p.m.; Kiddie Tractor Pull Registration 4:30 p.m.; Kiddie Tractor Pull 5 p.m.; Majic Matt the Magician 6:30 p.m.; Demolition Derby 7:30 p.m.; Cross of Deliverance 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 22
Beef Show 10 a.m.; Exhibit Buildings and Commercial Booths open noon to 10 p.m.; Enter Biggest Weed Contest 2 to 3 p.m.; South Dakota Old Time Fiddlers 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.; 4-H Round Robin Showmanship Contest followed by 4-H Livestock Awards and State Fair Orientation 4 p.m.; Free Horse Rides 4:30 to 6 p.m.; Community Barbecue 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Music by Sweetwater 6 p.m.; Pie and Cookie Auction 7 p.m.; Youth Talent Contest 7:30 p.m.; Ice Cream Social 9 p.m.; Teen Dance 9:30 p.m. to midnight.