WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Faces of the Lee County Fair

Jul 15, 2016

The Lee County Fair is the oldest county fair in Iowa, dating back to the mid-1800's. Thousands of local kids have participated in a wide range of friendly competitions on the fairgrounds in Donnellson during the past 175 years, including more than 150 in 2016.

The vast majority of them are members of the local 4H club: The Harrison Huskies. They came from all over the county to participate.

Some of them walked away with hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars following the sale of their livestock in the auction ring. Others left with ribbons and certificates commemorating their hard work in fields such as photography, gardening, home improvement, and mechanics.

Tri States Public Radio got to meet a few of them during this year's fair. They each said they loved participating and getting to spend time with their family and friends, riding carnival rides, eating fair food, and enjoying the outdoors.

Summer Smith, 15, of Donnellson says she was late in becoming a member of the local 4H chapter, joining as a 7th grader, but she says she has enjoyed it ever since. She had a very successful Lee County fair, earning ribbons for most of her photographs and state fair consideration for her educational presentation on FFA and for a flower box she built and designed herself. She plans to give the flower box to her grandmother.
Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR

Smith (left) picked up another honor the first night of the fair, winning Jr. Fair Queen. She's pictured with Fair Queen Sarah Tweedy. Smith credits 4H and her participation in the fair each year for giving her the confidence to run for the fair court.
Credit Facebook - Lee County Fair

Connor Moore, 13, of Primrose says raising cattle is in his blood, working with his father and uncle on their 60-head farm. This was Moore's 3rd year showing cattle at the Lee County Fair, entering his calf, Louise, in multiple competitions. Moore says he really enjoys 4H and the fair because of the time he gets to spends with his friends, family and the animals.
Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR

Moore (far right) and his friends pose with Louise. Moore says Louise is a mix of Angus/Maine Anjou. He says she weighed in at 1,140 pounds, which is less than he hoped, as he was aiming for 1,250-1,300 pounds. Moore did not take Louise on to the Iowa State Fair, instead auctioning her off after the competitions.
Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR

Olivia Tennant, 9, of Donnellson actually walked up to me while I was recording some natural sound and asked if she could be on the radio. She introduced me to her pigs, Suess (left) and Hamlet. Tennant says she loves the fair because she gets to help out all over the fairgrounds since her mom is on the fair board.
Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR