At the fair: hard work, renewing friendships
For Kylie Ritchey, the fair started near the beginning of the summer.
That seems to be the norm for anyone participating in most animal and livestock competitions.
Ritchey, whose Holstein calf gained both champion and showmanship distinction at the 2003 Leavenworth County Fair, has been working with her calf throughout the summer months, keeping the calf well-groomed.
For Ritchey, though, the feeling she gets when her calf is judged comes back every year.
"I get nervous," Ritchey said. "I think that's just the fact that I want to do well.
"I trust my calf, though."
In 4-H for 12 years now, the fair has been an annual big week for Ritchey for most of her life.
The senior at Tonganoxie High School was happy the fair didn't overlap the start of the academic year.
"I'm enjoying every moment of the fair because we have to go back to school next week," Ritchey said Friday.
Livestock are to the fair as apple pie is to America. Speaking of food, concession stands always dot the fair as well.
Donna Wiley, who has been involved in 4-H for roughly 40 years, has worked at the Earl W. Parsons 4-H Food Stand each year since it was built in 1997. Wiley uses a week's vacation each year to do her part at the fair.
Sitting at the food pavilion nearby that bears her name, Wiley said Friday that she enjoys talking to old friends each summer.
"You see them once a year and just pick up where your conversation left off the year before," Wiley said.