Fair’s heartbeat is still strong

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Waller County to celebrate 75th fair and rodeo while focusing on kids

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Although appearances will be considerably different, the heart of the Waller County Fair and Rodeo will still beat this fall.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has forced cancelations of events around the world, but the Waller County Fair Association is pushing forward with a slimmed-down version of its annual exposition. While it may be skinnier, there’s still plenty of meat on the bones, along with the fair’s mission of agriculture and education.

“In the best interest for public health, we decided as a fair board to focus on the things we could control while still being able to put on our fair and rodeo,” said Mike Higgins, first vice president of the WCFA. “We are happy that we will be able to have our livestock shows, our livestock judging and the annual exhibit auctions, which are all a very important part of our fair.

“We introduced our high school welding competition last year, and we’re excited that we can bring that back this year.”

While there won’t be a carnival and the shape of the concerts has changed, the fair association has taken the steps necessary to still produce a memorable 75th edition of Waller County’s annual exposition, set for Saturday, Sept. 26-Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead.

“This is a big year for Waller County and for this fair and rodeo,” said Sharon Burger, a member of the executive board. “We knew we had to have it this year, so we’re putting together the best fair and rodeo we can possible produce.

With that, the planning has already been under way for the youth to be able to show their steers, calves, swine, lambs, and other livestock. Those, along with the creative living exhibits, have historically been the foundation behind fairs across this land.

“We know it’s an important part of our youth program to have these kids understand how to care for the animals and to get them ready for the fair,” Higgins said. “This is a process, and it’s important for our young people to go through that process.

“Once we get to fair time, that’s when all the work comes to fruition, and they are celebrated for the work they do. We couldn’t take that away from these kids this year.”

The same can be said about all the exhibitors and those involved in other aspects of the traditional fair experience. In creative living, the exhibitors have a chance to showcase their talents as well as their passions. For those involved in livestock judging, the expo offers them a chance to put their lessons to task.

“Of course, we believe in every aspect of the fair and rodeo experience, but the biggest thing for us is to give these kids their avenue to shine,” Burger said. “It’s also important for this community. They want to see the exhibits and the exhibitors. We have a great community that supports these kids, and it’s always fun to see that dynamic come together.”


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