Clay County event is Sept. 6-14

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

SPENCER, Iowa -- Families and agriculture remain central to the Clay County Fair as it grows and develops, and this year's motto "Building on a Family Tradition,'' highlights that, said Phil Hurst, manager of the Clay County Fair.

This year's fair is Sept. 6 to 14 in Spencer.

"One of the first things people will notice is that the Clay County Regional Events Center is nearing completion,'' Hurst said.


The $4 million center was funded by a local option sales, fundraising, a state Community Attractions and Tourism grant and money from the city of Spencer. Hurst said that the fair's electrical, water and communications have also been improved.

Conservation education is the focus of the 1950s-vintage log cabin that was donated to the fair. Northwest Iowa county conservation boards, the DNR as well as other conservation and wildlife groups contributed money to move in the log cabin and set up displays highlighting the conservation story in northern Iowa.

"This will allow us to do a much better job of showcasing conservation,'' Hurst said.

Commodity groups, ISU Extension, Iowa Lakes Community College and agricultural businesses will give presentations throughout the fair. In addition to sessions on corn, soybeans, cattle, pork, turkeys and dairy, presentations will focus raising elk, honey bees, alligators, worms, grapes, garden produce and flowers. There will also be sessions on bio-renewable resources, organic production, food safety, the state's new bioeconomy, and new Extension research.

Livestock shows are one of the mainstays of the fair.

The Clay County Fair's Ride and Drive Program is the strongest ever, Hurst said. All major machinery lines are represented. Farmers can get passes from equipment exhibitors and then test drive machinery in an area on the north side of the fairgrounds. Hurst said the fair's agricultural exhibitors investing money to fix up their exhibit areas.

"At a time when so many companies have combined, I think it shows that our exhibitors believe we have a focus on the future,'' Hurst said. "We do have the largest agricultural business display in the nation.''

The fair will continue its focus on using its resources to educate school children about agriculture. School groups will be paired with ambassadors who will show and tell them about "all things involving agriculture,'' said Al Grigg, Osceoloa County Extension Education Director. Grigg also organizes the tractor pulls set for noon and 6 p.m. Sept. 14. Clay County Fair is one of just three locations nationally that host the Super National Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pull. Competitors will come from Texas, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and all over the Midwest.

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