Change is on the rise for the 2019 Franklin County Fair, and according to Melissa Hatfield things are heading in a positive direction.
“We can’t wait to make this another fabulous fair,” she said.
Hatfield is fair board president in a year brimming with edits to the fair’s traditional scheduling and programming, including changes to the swine and dog shows, new programming and timelier sale information. Headlining the mix is the extension of the fair by one day.
“We looked across Kansas and one thing we found is that we are one of the shorter fairs in Kansas,” Hatfield said. “We are not the shortest — there is one that is one day — but from our standpoint we felt we could really address some issues we’ve had and improve on the fair by adding a day.”
This year, the fair will officially begin on Tuesday, July 16th (as opposed to Wednesday, in years past). Adding a day at the beginning will spread out the traditional one-day influx of participants, vendors and spectators, Hatfield said, allowing volunteer fair staff to better manage traffic flow.
“This will enable us to bring in all of our 4-H animals and projects before we start getting the public engaged,” Hatfield said. “It will put less stress on the 4-Hers and also the animals that are coming in.”
Then, the next morning, judging and shows will begin. The fair board’s decision to hold the swine show Wednesday morning, instead of it’s usual Friday morning, was made with an eye toward animal and exhibitor flourishing.
“Back when I was a kid, the pig show was always on Friday mornings.” Hatfield said. “That is going to be a big change, because it’s now on Wednesday mornings.
“Our idea is that it will facilitate the best experience for 4-Hers and their exhibits. The swine will be fresh, and they’ll immediately be able to show them as they prepared them at home — you avoid showing them after they’ve sat in the heat for several days in a new environment.”
Kicking things off Wednesday will allow for the inclusion of the dog show Thursday morning.
“Individuals who haven’t seen the dog show in the past can see what it’s all about,” Hatfield said.
The Friday of fair week will feature a community livestock judging contest open to all, along with premium sale information previously only available on Saturday.
“We’ll be able to advertise what animals are available for the market sale on Friday this year,” Hatfield said. “If anyone is wanting to come buy a 4-H market animal for themselves or to help support the 4-Hers, all of that information should be available ahead of the sale on Saturday.”
The information will be available at the extension office, and Hatfield said organizers are exploring ways of disseminating the info online. Further information, including the Franklin County Fair 2019 premium book (set to for release May 15), is available on the fair’s Facebook page.