Every summer, counties from across the state of Iowa put on their week long county fairs, providing live entertainment and fun for the whole family. The Clayton County Fair hosts their fair the first week of August, and it has been my favorite part of summer since I was a 4-H member. Every day is full of live entertainment, including music talents, Bucking Bull’s Bull Bash, and the tractor pull.
It was Saturday of the fair, and I had gone up for another day of festivities. Luckily, I had gotten there just in time to grab a delicious hot beef plate from the Lutheran Church booth. Every year the savory open sandwich with smooth mashed potatoes, savory roast beef slices, piled on top of a slice of bread and smothered with beef gravy was a rare, delicious treat. They only made a limited amount for each day, and once they were gone, that was it. I scarfed my plate down and topped off my lunch with a few delicate slices of the church’s homemade pickles.
Once my lunch was finished, I meandered around the fair, checking out the non-livestock exhibits and the commercial booths before walking through the livestock barns. While I ambled about in one of the cow barns, I noticed a small pen of goats poking their head above the gate. When I walked up to them they tried their very hardest to get as close to me as possible. I reached out to gently pet the coarse fur on their heads, and they sniffed and licked my hands to see if they were hiding food, but once they saw a new person they left to coax them over with their bleats.
Evening was fast approaching, and over the loud speakers the announcer reminded everybody of the stick horse rodeo. Stick horse rodeo? Now that was something I had to see! I strolled over to the grand stands and picked a seat on the bleachers so I could see everything. When the stick horse rodeo started, it was exactly how it sounded; participants were given a toy stick horse, and played rodeo show favorites on stick horses. It was hilarious! Grown adults, teenagers and children all doing barrel races, cattle roping and pole bending all while straddling their stick horses. I could tell the contestants were enjoying it as much as the audience, even if the act of racing with a stick horse was a little embarrassing. It was a great show to lead into the night’s big event: the Clayton County Bull Bash.
A local Clayton County talent sang the national anthem once the riders for the evening were lined up, and the flag rose to honor our nation. The crowd roared to life when she finished, and the riders were ready to get on their bulls. As the announcer named off the next rider and bull, the crowd could hear the gate clamor and clank as the bull was riled up, ready to buck off its’ next victim. When the gate opened, the bull jumped into the arena, bucking as hard as he could to get the rider off. The rider held on for as long as he could as he yearned for the sound of the buzzer to ring through the arena and signify a successful, eight second ride. Thankfully, the buzzer rang through the arena, and he hopped off the bull and ran to the gate for safety. The night was full of bucking bulls and dirt kicking action, and ended Saturday night of the fair with a thrill.
At the Clayton County Fair, each night is full of live entertainment, from music concerts to bucking bulls. It’s my favorite time of the year, and I can’t wait to see what the fair has in store for this year. It’s a week of fun and games in Clayton County, celebrating 4-H, FFA, and community groups throughout the county. It’s the fair season, and Clayton County’s fair is just around the corner!
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Clayton County Fair