It’s that time again! The Polk County Fair kicks off on Thursday and runs through Saturday, packed with events and activities for the whole family. The fair takes year-round work by groups and individuals to make it successful. This year, we’ll have perhaps one of the mildest weather seasons during fair that we’ve seen in years. So head to the fairgrounds in Rickreall and prepare to enjoy what’s on display, from live entertainment — both professional and amateur — to animals.

We know the dedication youths in 4-H and FFA have getting their animals ready for fair. It means early mornings, seven days a week, feeding and caring for them. There’s no sleeping in on Saturdays for these young people — or their parents.

While we love walking through the animal pens, admiring the chickens, asking to pet a pig or goat, and wondering how anyone can get a cat to walk on a leash, we are amazed at the efforts that are on display in the open classes.

How do you get a pumpkin to get ripe and orange in early August?

How do you get the timing right on those roses, which are required to be at a certain phase of openness to show at the fair?

We have amazing talent in our county, and the fair is one place where we can glimpse it all in one place.

Go for the rodeo, the games, the demonstrations, the food, and stay for the open class. Admire the handiwork of local quilters, the images of local photographers, the literal fruits of local gardeners. Make a day of it — or three. Be inspired. Maybe it will be your cake that wins next year.

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