Kids participating in the Jasper County Youth Fair are swapping their summer relaxation time for physical labor, at least this week.
Monday was the annual workday to prepare the Carthage fairgrounds for the event. Youth participants in the fair as well as several FFA and 4-H advisors cleaned and set up the grounds for the hundreds of animals that will be occupying it this week.
The youth setting up for the event worked on a 100 percent volunteer basis, said Jasper County Youth Fair Board President James Crow.
Volunteers came from the five area FFA chapters represented in the fair, including Carthage, Joplin, Sarcoxie, Jasper and Carl Junction, as well as the nine county 4-H chapters.
“The kids help because they enjoy the fair and it’s their event,” Crow said.
To prepare the fairgrounds volunteers cleaned out winter leaves and dirt, assembled livestock pens and set up the speaker system, along with many other necessary tasks.
The youth volunteers working on Monday realize that their help is vital to ensuring that there can be a youth fair every year.
“If we didn’t come and help it would just be a huge mess,” Kirstin Winchester, 18, of Joplin said. “If we didn’t do it then it wouldn’t get done.”
Cody Jones, 11, knows that if no one puts in the work to help set up for the fair, then the fun part of the fair doesn’t happen either.
“I came to help so it would all get done,” Jones said. “I’m excited to show my calves, and this way I can.”
The Jasper County Youth Fair runs through this Saturday and will include classic youth fair events. The fair will have 4-H and FFA youth showings as well as a pageant, baby contest and peewee show. Crow said the board is planning on having a small band perform Thursday and a bigger end-of-the-week barbeque this year.
“The fair is good because it gives these kids something to do when there are a lot of other not-so-great things that they could be doing,” Crow said.