McDonald County Fair organizers believe that this year's 47th annual multi-day event was a success.
The overall animal count was up and the quality of livestock that the youth brought was better than in the past, said Fair chairman Dewey Pierce.
The premium sale held on Saturday night went well, he said. The actual premium average and add-ons were up from years past, he said. "It went fairly well," he said. "We were pleased with it."
The premium sale offers McDonald County youth a chance to show an animal. Bids are taken on the animal. All proceeds benefit the youth, with the youth retaining the animal, Pierce has said. Additionally, other individuals and local businesses can "add on" certain dollar amounts to the overall bid.
Last year, organizers had to make adjustments and scale back operations, while trying to offer a safe environment in the midst of the health pandemic, Pierce said. This year, organizers tried to maintain a safe environment while resuming normal operations. The board chairman had said he was motivated to offer youth the opportunity to show animals. That experience is unmatched, he said.
The three-day event featured princess and queen competitions, animal competitions, craft and food exhibits, bouncy houses, concessions and more.
The rain that fell early Friday morning cooled things off a bit. Though Saturday evening ended with a thunderstorm, Pierce said the relatively good weather played a part in drawing people to the fair.
The premium sale on Saturday proved to be a real highlight, with a number of youth showing beef and dairy cattle, goats, pigs, bucket calves and sheep. Pierce believes showing animals offers youth a chance to build self-confidence. This year wasn't any different. "Most kids control their animals well," he said, adding that all seem confident as they are showing their animals. "I love to see that."
Many people collectively support the youth and work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the fair happen and offer those show opportunities for the kids. "I want to thank the people that work hard and put in a lot of time," he said. "I appreciate it."
Rilynn Sexson, 9, is grateful for the experience.
Sexson showed dairy goats in three different classes. He won ribbons with goats in all three different breeds on Friday evening. From there, he qualified to participate in the Round Robin Showmanship Competition on Saturday morning, where he took second in the junior division.
He was the youngest in the junior Round Robin category, his mom, Meghan said.
This is Rilynn's second year to show animals. The experience he has gained is priceless.
"With participating in a show, he has gained the most confidence I have seen," she said. "He has really learned a lot about animals and taking care of them. He has to talk to judges and other adults. He has really come out of his shell."
Organizers did a great job this year, considering last year's obstacles and trying to gain momentum again this year, Meghan said.
"I was impressed with it this year," she said. "It was a great experience."