August 15, 2022

County fair festivities

By Mariannette Miller-Meeks

Summers in Iowa bring frequent rain showers, high temperatures, farmer’s markets, and same day sweet corn! But summer also brings county fairs all across Iowa. Events like county fairs bring a welcome escape from the heat and provide families, often multigenerational, and members of the community with fun recreational activities. Cedar, Clinton, Davis, Lee, Henry, Louisa, Mahaska, Marion, Muscatine, Van Buren and Wayne and counties throughout Iowa offer activities and entertainment throughout the month of July for kids, families, and people of all ages to enjoy.

Pageants, 4H clubs with arts and crafts, and a myriad of livestock competitions, along with fair food and fair games, are just a few of the attractions that Iowa’s fairs have to offer. I particularly enjoy the art and livestock competitions. Seeing our younger generations participate in these competitions is truly a pleasure. From across the district, children and young adults of all ages put their hard work, mastery, and creativity on display for all to see. How amazing is it to see our youth successfully show a bottle calf or 1200 lb. steer?

At the livestock competitions, farmers get to display their livestock to be judged by the community. Farmers are the backbone of Iowa and the United States and giving them a chance to be appreciated and awarded for their hard work in raising their livestock is always welcome.

Small businesses also get highlighted at fairs across Iowa. By allowing vendors to sell their products, these county fairs promote and highlight main street USA. According to the 2021 U.S. Small Business Administration Report, there are around 274,000 small businesses in Iowa, employing over 650,000 people. By giving a place for small businesses to promote their products, county fairs are helping small businesses create more profit and employ citizens across the district and state.

As the summer months continue, I encourage families across Iowa to research when and where their county fair is located. County fairs provide fun for all ages and promote volunteerism and community engagement. We continue to celebrate all things that make Iowa unique, but more importantly, home.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks is a resident of Ottumwa who currently represents Iowa’s Second District in the United States House of Representatives.