‘Tis the season for fairs!

Be Local means supporting agricultural fairs, which have already begun with the Mountain Area Fair in Farmington and will continue through August in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

“Basically, you’re supporting agriculture and the industry,’’ said Bill Jackson, Fayette County Fair board president. “It’s a chance to educate the public about agriculture. We also provide entertainment. There’s a lot of local vendors and charities that use the fair as a fundraiser. And it helps the local economy.’’

“It’s the number-one thing in the county in August,’’ said Larry Marshall, fair manager for Greene County Fair. “There’s everything from livestock and commercial vendors to a carnival and entertainment. We promote agriculture in Greene County and Pennsylvania.’’

Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs provides a schedule of fairs in Southwestern Pennsylvania, including:

Mountain Area Fair, Farmington, taking place now through June 22; Jacktown Fair, Wind Ridge, July 16-20; Fayette County Fair, Dunbar Township, July 25 - Aug. 3. Greene County Fair, Waynesburg, Aug. 4-10; Dawson Grange Community Fair, Aug. 5-10; Bullskin Township Community Fair, Woodale, Aug. 11-17; Washington County Fair, Washington, Aug. 11-17; Westmoreland Fair, Greensburg, Aug. 16-24; and Somerset County Fair, Meyersdale, Aug. 17-24.

The PSACF website notes, “Each agricultural fair, association or society has, at its focal point, the education and showcase of agriculture, horticulture, tourism and more. Over five and one-half million fairgoers each year can attest to the quality of what we have to offer.’’

Fairs feature competition. PSACF explained that includes livestock, hay and grain, vegetables, fruits and nuts, baked and canned goods, Christmas trees, flowers, sewing, art, grange exhibits, contests, apiary and antique farm machinery.

4-H is also a vital part of fairs with youths having an opportunity to learn through projects that showcase their talents.

According to its national website, 4-H reaches 6 million youths across the country, delivered by Cooperative Extension through a community of 100 public universities. Locally, 4-H works through Penn State Extension. Youths ages 8-18 by Jan. 1 of a given year can belong to 4-H. Cloverbuds is for youths ages 5-8, introducing them to 4-H in a noncompetitive way.

And there’s nothing like the atmosphere of a fair.

“Stare into the dazzling galaxy of lights on the midway. Follow the scent of fried dough to the funnel cakes. Lick the remnants of cotton candy off of your fingers. Lose the gravity weighing you down with a turn on the Ferris wheel,’’ noted VisitPA.com, the state’s tourism website.

Whether watching livestock competition, the crowning of a fair queen or a rodeo at the outdoor arena, fairs are places where the public can enjoy a tradition that has lasted for generations.

So be sure not to miss out. The fun has begun. Plan to make a visit to an agricultural fair near you.

Those interested in joining the Be Local Network can contact Ted Flowers at 724-425-7231 or by email at tflowers@heraldstandard.com. Discount cards are available at the Herald-Standard, 8 E. Church St., Uniontown, and at the Greene County Messenger, 32 Church St., Waynesburg.

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