Isabella County Youth and Farm Fair teaches responsibility and dedication to youth

Summer isn’t complete without enjoying a fresh-squeezed lemonade and an elephant ear at this year’s Isabella County Youth and Farm Fair on July 24 – 30.

Located at 500 N. Mission Rd., thrill-seekers can enjoy Maple Leaf Amusements’ rides during the day, while attending the fair’s daily grandstand event each night – ranging from Hometown Showdown, Super Kicker Rodeo, SJO Productions Motocross, Demolition Derby, to Super Stock Truck and Tractor Pull.

Debra Acker, a fair board member who has volunteered her time for over 30 years, feels that the week-long event is more about the opportunity for the youth to learn responsibility, hard work, and dedication through the fair’s auctions that they can participate in: still exhibit, small and large animal auctions, and animal showmanship.

Through the county’s extension, all exhibitors must be a member of a 4H or FFA (Future Farmers of America) club. As a result, Acker mentions that this prevents people from walking in with any animal and ensures that the 4H and FFA guidelines are followed.

From July 18 – 23, youth can exhibit their projects to be judged, including agricultural products, floriculture and horticulture, artwork, culinary art, demonstration, and educational projects. On the evening of July 23, champions are announced, and projects are auctioned off to buyers.

“I’ve seen cookies sell for $300,” Acker says. “A small percentage of the money that they raise is used for improvements in the exhibit building.”

In particular, Acker is involved in the large animal auction (swine, sheep, milk, beef, and feeders) that will occur on the evening of July 28. Like the small animal auction, animals are judged before being auctioned to buyers.

“We have a dinner for our livestock buyers, and they come in and purchase their animals, then we do the shipping for them. We either send it to a local or participating slaughterhouse, or we send it for resale to St. Louis or Clare,” Acker says.

Days before the riveting week, Maple Leaf Amusements are offering armbands on sale for $15, then will be transitioning to $25 the week of the fair. On Tuesday, July 26, the company offers a deal for children where they can purchase an armband for $15. Doors open at 2 pm Monday then 1 pm the rest of the week, closing at 10 pm. daily. All grandstand events are $10 and children under five are free.

For more information on prices and events, visit their Facebook page
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Danielle Patrick is a Chesterfield resident who finds passion in writing about the Mt. Pleasant community. In addition to her freelance work with Epicenter Mt. Pleasant, she also journals for Ignite Donuts and is an editor for Grand Central Magazine. She is set to graduate from Central Michigan University in Dec. 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Follow her on Instagram @_daniellepatrick_.