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View from the Cab: Summer Fair Time

(CIFN file photo)

By the time summer is over, I will be able to tell you where to find the best corn dog and lemonade shakeup.

Good old summer fair time is upon us. We had our first area fair in Ford County last week. The Melvin fairgrounds always provide the perfect atmosphere for taking in a livestock show or concert. Best of all, the weather was awesome during the start of the fair with highs barely reaching 70 and the breeze kept everyone comfortable. I heard a few complaints from the crowd about the “cool” weather, but I wasn’t complaining after returning from a very humid Orlando, Florida the week before.

My fair travels take me to Grundy County this week, the Fisher Community Fair and Horse Show next week and three fairs the week after that in DeWitt, Iroquois and Livingston counties. When August rolls around, I will be visiting the McLean County Fair along with events in Cullom and Fairbury, not to mention the Illinois State Fair at Springfield. It’s all part of the Central Illinois Farm Network 2017 Fair Central Tour.

Hearings have been taking place in Springfield regarding county fair funding. We all know county fairs are great economic engines for the state’s economy. The Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs encourages you to contact your legislator to support the passage of the budget, which is Senate Bill 6.

A study from the University of Illinois Extension shows the impact ag fairs have here in Illinois. The events lead to $170 million in annual spending for the state’s economy. Also, 1,000 jobs are supported by the industry.

The study states, “By statute, county fairs are unique because of their principal devotion to the exhibition of agricultural products which are vital to future generations of farming, and agribusiness.”

According to the IAAF website, county fairs provide many benefits to communities beyond the economic impact which are not related to economic gains, such as family entertainment, ag education, opportunities for local organizations and unique entertainment opportunities. Some of the primary challenges facing fairs today include keeping youth involved, competition with numerous other activities during the summer months, a limited number of volunteers and declining contributions from local agriculture.

I hope to see you at an area fair this summer.

(The View from the Cab is powered by Petersen Motors in Fairbury, "Driving the Dream.")

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