TIRED of watching your children sit around and stare at a computer, iPhone or television screen?
This week there has been an alternative near Mercer — a trip down to the farm.
Today marks the last day of the Mercer County Grange Fair, which began last week, but there is still plenty to see and do, including a demolition derby and fireworks. It is one of the county’s smaller events, but it a real opportunity to show your children (or grandchildren) a little bit about life as it used to be — and still is — on the county’s farms.
There will be animals to see and games and fun to enjoy. And none of it requires a charger. Locals have brought livestock for the annual judging. And while it looks easy, these young people (and adults) have been showing off the results of months of hard work. You don’t bring a cow straight out of a field and head on down to the show ring. There is grooming, feeding, training and time that are invested first. And if you or your children or grandchildren have never seen a real live bunny up close, now is your chance.
But fairs are not just about ribbons, shows and livestock.
There are lessons to be learned, too.
4-H is one of the programs that allow young people the chance to practice some of the skills that used to be commonplace in farm households — and to explore some new frontiers, too.
More children should have the chance to experience 4-H opportunities — as well as other groups that celebrate this part of our country and our community’s heritage.
For some of those who grew up with farm memories from their childhood, this is a chance to share a little bit of that experience with a generation that often forgets just how the food they eat makes it to the table.
And it is also a chance to look back at what has been and still is an important part of this region’s economy. It is not just about industry after all.
So come on out to the fair, get a lemonade or cotton candy and take a tour of the barn. And while you are at it, ask some questions about farm life, livestock and the ribbons you will see.
Give your children or grandchildren the opportunity to see a cow, horse or rabbit up close and to learn a little about the agriculture that helped build this region.
Then, you can Google some facts about the animals, and some history of farming, together when you get home.
Congratulations to all the livestock winners, and thank you to the families who still work every day to put food on our tables.
You might not think we know how hard you work and the dedication you devote to your operations, but we do.
And we are glad you are still there.