With fall now in full swing, it can only mean one thing. It’s fair season. The Alabama National Fair will take place from October 30th through November 8th in Montgomery, and will offer various events for the entire family.
The AL National Fair, will offer live music including Cole Swindel, Anthony Hamilton, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. There are also carnival rides, food, and various competitions for people to participate in.
Among the popular livestock competitions, there are many that are solely for the youth. There are youth categories in showing beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, and swine. The divisions are split up into three categories. Juniors range from ages 9 to 12, Intermediate from ages 13-15, and Senior from ages 16 to 19. There are many great cash prizes for winning. There even is a costume contest for the contestant and his or her cow.
The Alabama 4-H Program encourages many teens to develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, and aspirations needed for adult success. There are 4-H clubs all over the state of Alabama, and offer opportunities to students from both rural and city backgrounds. Many of the participants in the youth livestock shows at the AL National Fair, are members of this program. 4-H members participating in dairy shows has a long standing tradition, dating back decades.
According to Boyd Brady, an administrator of outreach programs for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, showing livestock is a great way to teach kids responsibility and care. “4-H dairy programs teaches youth decision making, communications and practical skills,” Brady said. “They are responsible for providing water, feeding, brushing, washing and working with the animal each and every day.”
Showing animals require much commitment. The youth participating in the events must take care of the animal no matter the circumstances. “The animal is counting on it’s owner to take care of them,” Brady said. “This means that no matter if it is a weekend, holiday, or the individual is sick that they still have this responsibility.”
The key to being successful in livestock showing is simple. “The most important thing is taking care of and working with an animal every day,” Brady said. “Each animal has a personality of it’s own and it is better to learn to work with that personality then to try and fight it.”
On your visit to the AL National Fair, be sure to stop by the livestock shows to cheer on these hardworking youth individuals and their animals. Admission and operation hours vary based on the day.
For more information on the AL National Fair, visit here.