During the week of the Lincoln County Fair, local 4-H and FFA members from across the county exhibit their projects, produce and livestock that they have spent all year working on. For the younger kids there are carnival rides, arcade games and fair food galore, and the exhibit hall features the work of community members that want to showcase their projects from photography to woodworking. Each night the fair features events such as horse shows, live concerts, truck and tractor pulls as well as a variety of vendors that come from across the state.
For 4-H and FFA members that exhibit livestock at the Lincoln County Fair, the work never ends. One Troy FFA member, James Justus, has been a member of the swine project at the fair since he was eight years old.
“I started out showing in 4-H and when I started high school, I joined the FFA program and have been showing the hogs I raise ever since,” said Justus. The work for Justus begins in November when he purchases his hog for the next year’s county fair. He works daily with his hog, walking, grooming and measuring the feed to ensure that his hog will be at its fullest potential during the fair. Justus exhibits at the Lincoln County Fair, Northeast District FFA Expo and and even makes an annual trip to the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri.
“One memory that really stands out was my first trip to the Missouri State Fair, I had not shown that well, but the next year I worked harder and had more experience which helped me win one of my classes,” said Justus. Showing swine he has become a large portion of his life and he has accumulated years of experience in and out of the show ring.
“For anyone just starting out in the show arena, it takes time, and remember to ask for help when you need it – there are a lot of people willing to help,” said Justus. The show barn becomes a community during fair week and even though it is a competition, it is always a learning experience.
The fair has become a tradition for many families in Lincoln County and surrounding areas, and it has grown considerably since it initally began, and as such there is a fair bit of work that goes into it behind the scenes and just as one fair ends, the planning and preparation for the next year begins.
Holly Twellman, Co-Chairman of the Lincoln County Fair Board of Directors, has been involved with the fair for as long as she can remember.
“I started working in the food stand kitchen with my parents when the fair was held at Fairgrounds Park and it was called the Youth Fair,” said Twellmann. She has volunteered her time year after year at the fair, with one of her favorite memories being when her son won reserve champion with his market steer.
“When my kids aged out of the steer project, I decided to join the Lincoln County Fair Board to stay involved,” said Twellman. She has been a member of the board for six years, where she manages the exhibit hall throughout the year. Her duties include coordinating events year-round, staffing and supplying the hall as well as any maintenance that the hall might need. Leading up to the fair, Twellman ensures that the exhibit hall is prepared and up to date for the week long fair. When the fair does roll around, she and the other members of the fair board work all week to ensure that the event runs smoothly.
“I love seeing the local support of the county for the kids of the fair, and it is always great to see familiar faces that I have not been able to see for a while,” said Twellman. Over the years, the fair has seen tremendous growth allowing for larger events to be held and this is thanks to the year long work that the fair board does to build up and improve the Lincoln County Fair each year.