By Sam Taff
Each year the Shenandoah County Fair is a place where local exhibitors can show their crafts and livestock to the rest of the county.
Fairgoers gather to look at the animals raised by local youths and the food and crafts of area residents who try their hand at getting a blue ribbon.
It's a lot of hard work for hundreds of exhibitors, but it's also a job for judges and fair officials.
The culmination of their hard work is the first Saturday of the fair when exhibitors bring their animals and projects to the fairgrounds for judging. For crafts and food the judging takes place Saturday, but livestock judging runs all week.
With help from local 4-H clubs, Future Farmers of America clubs, the county extension office and the fair executive board, youth and adults get a chance to show off their talents.
Sherry Heishman, Central High School FFA advisor, said she has learned the value of the program from the years her own children have shown livestock at the fair.
"From a teaching standpoint it shows the responsibility and knowledge," she said.
"As a parent [the program] shows the kids how to feed and when to feed to get the animal to market weight," Heishman added. "It's a program that needs to be supported by the community. I think we take for granted how many people don't know where their food comes from."
Paul Fravel, a local parent whose son will enter the youth arts and crafts categories, agreed.
"He is really excited about the anticipation of seeing how well his work did."
The 96th Shenandoah County Fair will take place from Aug. 23 to 31 at 300 Fairground Road, Woodstock. Anyone interested in entering items in the fair should check the fair's website at www.shencofair.com. Exhibits are dropped off at the fairgrounds the first Saturday morning of the fair and they are judged that afternoon.
For more information about the fair, call 540-459-3867. The box office phone is 540-459-7300.