A young fairgoer poses in front of farm equipment on display at the 2014 Johnson County Fair. File photo

A young fairgoer poses in front of farm equipment on display at the 2014 Johnson County Fair. File photo

It’s not a fairy tale, but it typically has a pretty happy ending.
The Johnson County Fair kicks off July 27 with the sweet aroma of cotton candy, the sound of kids laughing, the mesmerizing lights of the Ferris wheel and the crowds at the grandstand.
Fair enthusiasts, 4-H members, funseekers and plenty of livestock will descend on Gardner next week for the annual Johnson County Fair. The fair runs July 27 – Aug. 1 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds near downtown, 136 E. Washington.
Local and area 4-H’ers will be present all week to give animal and livestock presentations, and judges will be busy judging 4-H projects made by a variety of talents – everything from arts and crafts to pies to quilts to handmade rockets.
Even with 4-H’s projects on display, animal demonstrations and judged events, there is still plenty to do. Main events will include an open youth rodeo July 27, a night of fun and challenge on July 28, amateur flat track racing July 30, barnyard olympics on July 31, and a parade through downtown Gardner will wrap up the fair festivities Aug. 1.
The annual Johnson County Fair is the culmination of more than a year of work by dedicated volunteers, primarily volunteers and club members of the many Johnson County 4-H Clubs.
Throughout fair week, 4-H youth will showcase their talents.
4-H’ers gain much more than a ribbon or trophy at the county fair. They are learning skills that will prove to be valuable beyond their 4-H experience. 4-H’ers learn through hands-on educational opportunities, like livestock showcasing, and gain important life skills:
• a positive self-concept,
• healthy interpersonal relationships,
• an inquiring mind,
• sound decision making,
• and a concern for community.
Although great lessons are learned during the fair, the majority of the learning for 4-H’ers takes place before the first day of the county fair. Throughout the year, youth work closely with project leaders who are adult or teen volunteers with project expertise. The Johnson County 4-H program has more than 400 adult volunteers who work with club members.
Prior to the start of the fair 4-H’ers inquire about the project possibilities when planning for their project. For instance, in the food and nutrition project, a 4-H’er could practice a cake recipe with different types of flour to see which one would produce the best outcome. Youth also gain decision making skills through this trial and error process. Just like in the ‘real world’ not all projects turn out perfectly, however youth are gaining skills that will outlast a plate of cookies, a photo or any livestock.
Some of 4-H club members’ work will be displayed in air conditioned buildings on the fair grounds, should temperatures spike or rain fall.
Weather, for the most part, remains an uncertainty each year. According to the extended forecast by Accuweather.com, temperatures will be in the mid-90s early in the week, with high humidity. Thunderstorms are possible on July 29, but the possible late summer storm will bring slightly cooler temperatures. The extended forecast suggests temperatures in the latter part of fair week will hover in the mid-to-high 80s with overcast skies on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
A full schedule of fair events is included in this edition of The Gardner News. For more information on next week’s event, including schedules, ticket information, directions and Fair Board news, visit the fair’s website at www.jocokansasfair.com.