In case you didn’t know this about me, I am a fair kid.

I am the kid that took nearly 50 projects to the fair every year ranging from dairy to swine to foods and nutrition to arts and crafts.

I am a huge advocate of being involved in the fair.

I have a lot of fond memories at the fair. I was always nervous the night before the first day of fair, so much so that I could never sleep and would often be the first person up getting things ready to take to the fairgrounds.

There were many nights sitting downstairs in our basement getting all of our projects completed before they were due.

I can still remember the first time I slept in the dairy barn with the cattle I was showing. I was so excited that I barely could sleep, even though sleeping on the floor may have had something to do with it.

There were always these crazy people that were out washing their cattle at 4 a.m., well before the entire barn was awake.

Low and behold it was my wife, Steph, that was out there braving the cold water in the dark.

Yes, that’s right, I love the fair so much, I even got married because of it.

Steph and I are high school sweethearts, most of which we have to thank due to running into each other at the fair.

The first time I remember her at the fair was when in 2006 we competed against each other in foods and nutrition. That year I beat her with my pumpkin bread, which is when we sparked each others interest.

We ended up having some good conversations at the end of the fair and became good friends.

Steph must have taken me beating her with my pumpkin bread to heart because she came back with a vengeance the next year when she beat me with her banana bread. Don’t worry, I still beat her with my pumpkin bread, starting off a small rivalry that persists to this day.

It wasn’t much of a rivalry though because she usually was the one winning best of show, while I was sitting over there never having won the prize.

That year, we would meet up again at the fair clean-up day.

Being terrible at names like I usually am, I couldn’t remember her name, which is when she said, “If you don’t know my name, I can’t talk to you. I don’t talk to strangers.”

She vowed she wouldn’t talk to me until I remember her name. Luckily she had a friend with her that told me her name, plus she obviously couldn’t resist my charm...or she just felt that sorry for me. I choose to think it was the charm.

That year at fair we hung out a lot and got to know each other really well, including going out to eat at several restaurants with all of our fair friends, and don’t worry, she continued to wash her dairy animals really early in the morning when it was dark out.

After fair, she tried to call me, but I was at the State Fair, so I called her back when I got home and we decided to go on our first date on Aug. 19, 2007, and the rest is history.

It is for these reasons and many more that I have really fond memories of the fair, which quite frankly makes me wish that more people could experience it.

Especially in this day and age when computers and phones are where our focus lies most of the time.

I truly believe taking projects to the fair is a great way to build work ethic, time management and creativity in children, something that many people are lacking these days.

Fair is also a great place to get your head out of the clouds and meet some new people. If there is anything to learn from my story, it is that you could meet your next significant other at the fair.

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