Fair spotlights all Macoupin County has to offer

Fair spotlights all Macoupin County has to offer

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The Issue: Many people commute to jobs in larger communities outside Macoupin County.

Our View: It’s easy for some to lose sight of the industries that drive Macoupin County’s economy.

Agriculture, and all the industries that rely on it, has long been the driving force behind Macoupin County’s economy and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. While there’s always a valiant effort to attract more companies to the county, people will always have to eat, making the county’s fertile fields and healthy livestock a mainstay.

For over a century, the Macoupin County Fair has put the best the county has to offer front and center while providing an opportunity for area youth to look away from their electronic devices long enough to participate in activities that connect them directly to their roots.

Each year, aside from all the small-town carnivals and picnics, county residents have the opportunity to celebrate their heritage at the Macoupin County Fair.

The fair provides far more than just a carnival. This year’s fair runs July 5-9 and, as always, will feature the best efforts of those who participate in categories ranging from agriculture to fine arts.

It’s true many of those who attend the fair do so for entertainment. The fair brings carnival rides and games, harness racing, karaoke, demo derby, tractor pull and live music all for the purpose of keeping fairgoers amused.

The purpose of the fair, however, is to promote Macoupin County’s agricultural industry, along with all the goods and services associated with it. An added benefit is the opportunity it gives county children to become actively involved with the fair. With children who enter into the livestock or agricultural products competition, the commitment requires months of hard work as they raise the animal or grow the plants they plan to enter.

Farmers and their families from around the area enter livestock to be judged in the categories of beef, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, rabbits and horses, with junior competitions in beef, sheep and swine.

A wide variety of agricultural products will also be exhibited and judged. Everything from grain and seeds to eggs and a host of different vegetables will be on display for judging. Those more interested in growing and displaying flowers than food can also compete. Everything from cut flowers to potted plants and arrangements will be categorized and judged.

In the dairy and culinary department, there are categories for cakes, cookies, pies, canned goods, jellies and preserves, as well as candy. There’s a separate competition for juniors.

It would take more space than is available here to run down all there is to do and see at the Macoupin County Fair. It important that people understand where their food comes from and just how many industries are rooted in agriculture. Sure, the pageants and the rides are a fun, integral part of the fair, but it’s imperative people understand one doesn’t have to be a farmer for agriculture to play a significant role their life.

Make an effort to visit the Macoupin County Fair and take some time to visit areas of the fair that wouldn’t normally be on the agenda. Visit the livestock pavilion, the Bates Building and view all the produce, art and culinary items on display. The fair is an affordable choice for families, so take in all there is to see at the fair. It’s worth well beyond the price of admission.