Fair a tribute to farming heritage
Goats, pigs, heifers and steers, canned peaches, fresh-baked cookies, handcrafts, flowers and more bounty from Garfield County residents are on display this week at the Garfield County Fair in Rifle.
It’s also a great place to watch rodeo, catch the death-defying motocross races and nuzzle furry bunnies.
The fair is as old as the county, and is one of the last true expressions of the county’s rich agricultural heritage.
The rest of the year, we can wring our hands over the loss of farms and ranches to development. But this week, we can celebrate the agricultural community that is still here, raising crops and livestock and living the country life.
Not all the exhibitors who show off their goods and critters at the fair live on big spreads.
Some live in town, or on the many small acreages sprinkled through the valleys. They, or their parents, may have a job in town, but they recognize the strong cultural and life values of doing for themselves.
Canning, baking, sewing, woodworking, raising rabbits and livestock, growing perfect ears of corn and tomatoes bursting with flavor – these are pursuits of the past and the present.
With the recognition earned at the fair, they will carry into the future.
The reward may be a shiny blue, red or white ribbon to start the collection or add to the bundle hanging from a corkboard at home.
But the larger reward is mastering a skill, understanding the mysteries of husbandry, learning how to work with dirt, water, weather and living creatures, and sharing success with fellow devotees.
The fair is a tribute to what we have learned, and what we can teach. Don’t miss it.
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