For the past 12 years, I have been looking forward to attending and exhibiting at the Lodi Agricultural Fair. While this year is no different in that regard, as the fair’s intern for the summer I find myself looking at it with a whole new perspective.
What many people don’t realize is that even though the fair lasts less than a week, it takes an entire year of preparation. Before working at the fair myself, I never realized how many different aspects of the fair there are to plan and prepare for, and within each of these areas there are numerous details that need to be attended to. Some, but obviously not all, of the activities required to put on the fair include: keeping the grounds and the buildings maintained, creating new flyers and signage for the various events at the fair, securing sponsorships, ordering ribbons, scheduling judges, setting up the barns, updating the premium book and much, much more.
There are so many different people who contribute in many varying aspects of the fair that most people never even hear about, and this summer I have been able to work with each of them and learn about what they do. More importantly, I have been able to learn why they love the fair enough, not only to come back every year, but also to put so much of their free time and effort into making it happen.
These realizations definitely helped me change the way I think about the fair and all of the work that goes into it by the many volunteers throughout the year, but I also learned something else. As an exhibitor, being a member of 4-H and exhibiting at the fair was about learning new skills which would serve me later in life, whether it be how to sew or how to speak in public. The fair was always about trying and learning new things and then being able to display the end result at the fair.
Now, as the fair’s intern, I’ve found that the job is two-fold. I am still learning more about the fair and improving many different kinds of skills, but I am also presented with many opportunities to put the skills I learned as an exhibitor into practice. Various woodworking projects throughout the years have taught me skills that I now use to help repair and repaint some buildings on the fairgrounds. Things learned while creating posters about how a rocket works have helped me create eye-catching flyers for various fair events. Some projects presented a bit more of a challenge than I had planned for, which developed my skills to think through and solve a multitude of questions and snafus that come through the fair office on a regular basis.
These things that I have learned through the fair will serve me well my entire life, but for now, they are enabling me to do my best to make this year’s Lodi Agricultural Fair the best one yet.
So, make sure you come visit the fair and see everything the fair has to offer, including the Junior and Open Class exhibits, livestock, Live Butterfly House, Demo Derbies, Horse and Tractor Pulls, and so much more!
Megan Moll is entering her junior year at the University of Dubuque in Iowa, where she is pursuing degrees in Accounting and Aviation Management. Megan was a member of the Ashton Go-Getters 4-H Club and exhibited at the Lodi Agricultural Fair for the past 12 years.