We are just weeks away from the 44th Annual Wharton County Youth Fair. With the clock ticking down, hundreds of young people throughout the county are working diligently to complete and fine-tune their livestock projects.

For generations, the youth of Wharton County have taken part in the time-honored tradition of raising animals, participating in skills competitions, and inviting grandparents out to the Ammann Barn to watch them parade and showcase their most prized asset.

For those who never raised livestock, you are missing out on one of life’s greatest character building and life-skill learning opportunities.

Regardless of age, it takes a lot of discipline, responsibility and self confidence to raise and care for something that is 100 percent dependent on you. It is certainly not a job that can be taken lightly.

Young exhibitors are learning the life lessons of competition, not everybody wins, and how hard it can be to say goodbye to something you loved and nurtured from infancy.

The WCYF Board of Directors finalize plans March 9 for the upcoming 2021 fair. Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, fair officials agreed to cut back on some of the more profitable fan favorites such as the carnival, concerts and PRCA bull riding events.

With a shared commitment to follow public safety guidelines, the WCYF board unanimously agreed that the show must go on and our county wide youth exhibitors will be able to show and sell their livestock and creative arts projects.

To minimize large gatherings, creative arts exhibitors will bring their entries to the fairgrounds for judging, but those projects will not be displayed in Crescent Hall.

Likewise, livestock entries will be brought in and weighed on the morning of their show and then be returned home later that same day.

Social distancing will be encouraged and exhibitors will be required to wear masks at all times they are in and around the show rings and exhibition halls.

Again, Priority No. 1 is maintaining the safety of our young exhibitors, their families, and friends.

Priority No. 2 is doing everything possible to ensure this generation of fair participants are afforded the best opportunity to display their craft and present the animal they have been feeding, nurturing, exercising and loving on for the past year.

Our state renowned WCYF BBQ Cook-Off is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 9-10; the college rodeo Friday, April 16; and royalty pageants Saturday, April 17.

The ever-popular Family Fun Night with chicken chase and calf scramble is set for Sunday, April 18.

Livestock shows and creative arts demonstrations will take place at designated times throughout the week of April 19 to 23.

The Sale of Excellence brings the big top down on Saturday, April 24th.

Visitors will be asked to pay a $5 daily gate admission or a season pass can be purchased for $20.

To anyone new to Wharton County, this is your big chance to get out and meet your neighbors and learn a lot about the history, culture and lifestyle of those who call this region of the Lone Star State home.

The annual Wharton County Youth Fair is a time for local families to renew old friendships while showing-off our next generation of leaders, teachers, farmers and maybe even politicians.

As you stroll around the Crescent fairgrounds in the coming weeks, take a moment to breathe in the distinctive smell of fresh cut wood shavings, close shorn lambs and well-oiled hogs... and recognize and realize there is so much more going on than just livestock shows and competitions.

The traditions and experiences learned at the 2021 Wharton County Youth Fair are going to last a lifetime. Make no mistake, friendships will be made, families will be strengthened, and character will be built. So get ready, gas up the car, grab a friend and head out to 44th Annual Wharton County Youth Fair.

As your county judge, my primary objective continues to be preparing Wharton County for the future while always maintaining our unique small-town way of life.

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