I love the month of September in Faulkner County. Mainly, because of the upcoming county fair!

Beyond the rides and funnel cakes, the fair is the one place all the county can come together for fellowship, showmanship, hard work and fun. And the parade — the largest fair parade in the state — is something my family looks forward to annually.

This issue has a great read by Cindy Beckman looking back at the Faulkner County Fair’s rich 80-year history. And our cover story is all about a woman who dove “herd” first into a life of agriculture — building a successful business in an environment where women haven’t always had leadership roles. And if you know me, I love those kind of stories.

And I have to say, I am an unlikely candidate for Fair Queen. But some of my best memories were showing my hogs in high school. Learning how to care for the animals was only one aspect of the experience. What being a 4-H/FFA kid meant to me was so much more. 

My children, ages 4 and 10, are already involved in our county’s 4-H program.

You learn a lot of lessons about who you are as a person. You get up early and stay late. And by the look on my face in the attached photo, you might get a little dirty from time to time, too. 

The values of fair kids are solid — faith, family, hard work, leadership and success. So many of our Faulkner County Fair alums are paving the way in local and state agriculture. Many of them afford college after years of working hard to raise and show poultry and livestock. Others find good fun in showing horticulture and home economics projects. 

All those who grow up in the 4-H/FFA programs here have a lot of options. Projects and contests center not only around agriculture, but current events, Legislature, theater arts, public speaking, shooting sports … the list of opportunity is incredible. And, probably most importantly, all kids find a fit. Not only that, but they develop lifetime friendships and support systems. It’s a network state and nationwide that is unmatched for young people.

And for 80 years, the Faulkner County Fair has supported this breed of student with scholarships and programming on a county level. 

For the week of Sept. 18-22, the Conway Expo grounds will be covered up in wood chips. Animals will be on display and showmanship will shine in the rings out back. Certainly, I encourage a ride on the Ferris wheel and you can’t miss the candy apples. But venture into the exhibit hall and check out projects from students and members of the community. The student photography showcase, alone, is something to see. 

And there will be local businesses set up, too. Politicians will be on hand to meet you. Maybe you’ll even see something out of the ordinary. … 

Continue on through the hall and experience the show barns. Strike up a conversation with a participant about their animals or their contest. It’s worth spending time at the fair.

For a complete list of fair activities and schedules, log onto www.faulknercountyfair.net or pick up an official Fair Book at the Log Cabin offices. Registration continues through Aug. 31.

The parade is set Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 5 p.m. in downtown Conway. I hope you’ll join us!