MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — As the dust settled over the Montcalm County 4-H Fairgrounds, with a final whinny of a horse echoing through the now empty stables, it appears this year was a success for both 4-H’ers and visitors of the fair.
“It was honestly the best fair yet,” said this year’s 4-H’er of the Year Kennedy Cogswell. “It was super fun, and this year seemed way more put together because we’ve been coming to these fairgrounds for a while now.”
Since moving from Hillcrest Street in Greenville to its current location on Peck Road just north of Greenville in 2011, 4-H’ers have enjoyed much more space and larger facilities to show their animals while participating in 4-H events throughout the week.
That change in conditions made the fairgrounds more suitable for extreme changes in weather, as this past week saw four straight days of rain followed by sunny skies with high temperatures.
“I’m proud of everybody who comes and does 4-H,” Cogswell said. “It’s a huge deal to have to commit to be here every morning, to take care of your animals.”
Cogswell said despite rains that soaked the fairgrounds through the first four days of the fair, 4-H’ers held their heads high and made the best of a very wet situation.
“Fair is fun, rain or shine, it’s always a blast,” she said. “You just work all year to show your animals.”
But from Wednesday on, conditions were nearly perfect, as temperatures shot up into the 80s and skies stayed mostly clear for the major grandstand events.
According to fair board member Lisa Johnson, only one event was canceled due to weather this year, and overall attendance was up from 2013.
“I think this year was quite successful,” Johnson said. “Once the weather dried up, it’s amazing how quickly it went from muddy to dusty out here.”
According to Johnson, parking was up this year over last year, which she credited to the excellent weather on Friday and Saturday, two of the busiest days during fair week.
“We were very happy with our new carnival midway this year,” she said. “It’s fairly small, but we didn’t hear any major complaints.”
Johnson said temperatures overall were below average throughout the week, which was especially favorable for the many various animals.
“The animals have been good, and it’s been cooler than normal during the week of the fair,” she said. “Having it in the last week of June as opposed to the second week of July, that helps.”
Johnson said the livestock sale was down this year overall due to less animals, but the sale per animal was up from 2013 due to higher market prices.
“We had a great fair this year,” she said. “It started out a little rough, but it finished very, very well.”