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Column: In honor of 4-H livestock exhibitors

ESCANABA — The U.P. State Fair is quickly approaching. For most, this means a little down time with the family to enjoy the carnival rides, play games, take in a concert and splurge on delicious fair food. However, beneath the bright lights and excitement of all the fair attractions, there is a demographic of unique youth who descend upon our barns and campground sites. They are our 4-H livestock exhibitors.

These are the youth you will see in the early hours of the morning hauling feed and new bedding to their animals. They like to hang around tack areas on “barn duty” making sure the animals are safe, clean and healthy. These kids work for months at home prepping their livestock for the big show and ultimately hoping and praying for a generous buyer on sale day. They know about hard work, nurturing, responsibility, vet calls and the meaning of a job well done.

Most of these kids are from rural areas across our state. Their parents were most likely 4-H exhibitors in their youth, and they want their own children to learn all the valuable life lessons that a livestock project inherently teaches. These families constitute the backbone of our agricultural communities and create adults that will forge our future.

As you visit our wonderful fair this year, please make sure to visit all our barns. Each animal and each exhibitor have a story. These stories will be showcased by some of the best youth and livestock our state has to offer.

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Connie Wells is part of the Upper Peninsula State Fair team

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