Butler County Fair: Importance of ‘fair families’ on display for support, connection

Fair competitors show goats at the Butler County Fair Wednesday, July 28, 2021 in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
Fair competitors show goats at the Butler County Fair Wednesday, July 28, 2021 in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

One piece of the Butler County Fair that exhibitors look forward to the most is reuniting with their “fair families” — a phrase commonly used among the 4-H community that joins together each summer for the festivities and competitions.

To have a “fair family” is to be part of a group who all share the common love and admiration for the fair and 4-H life and lifestyle. They view each other as a family with a bond just as strong as blood.

Erin-Simpson Salone, a 4-H program assistant, said being part of a “fair family” and the significance that it holds to the fair’s youngest competitors all the way to the 4-H alumni show the power of the program.

“It’s just so wonderful because we all work together,” she said. “We all just work together like one big happy family to help our youngest grow and blossom and really help all of our 4-H members gain the ability to get the absolute best out of the program.”

The fair will continue through Saturday as a full event after operating with significant limitations last year. For those who connect with those close friends mostly at the fair, it was a sad void in a challenging year. That has made those reunions even more special this year.

Chloie Abrams, a rising junior at Miami University and 4-H alumnus, reflects back on her involvement with 4-H and the connections that her family and her “fair family” made during the seven years of her time competing at the fair.

“The people in your fair family are truly special,” she said. “Because you don’t usually see them that often during the school year, so when summer comes around and fair week starts, it makes it just a really special moment to be reunited back with them again.”

Abrams said that when you have a fair family, you pretty much do everything with them, all throughout the week of the fair, like eating meals together, going to each others events to watch one another compete, and participate in the activities.

Abrams enjoys being reunited with her “fair family” and still comes to support her younger 18-year-old sister Rylie in her competitions and shows.

Aubrey Jordan, who has been involved with 4-H for 10 years, mainly showing cattle, is happy to be back together again with her “fair family” and community after missing out on a “normal” fair season last summer due to COVID-19.

“It feels really good to be back and everything and to be able to see everyone again,” she said. “Like your fair family is honestly just a group of people that you stick with not only throughout the week, but throughout the year, they are just really amazing people to have to support you through everything.”