The words “county fair” may conjure up a variety of images to many of us in the Dayton area and beyond—thrilling rides, good times and those one-of-a-kind fair food treats come to mind. But for the area’s young 4-H and Future Farmers of America members, the annual county fair means something else entirely: A chance to show off your hard work to judges and possibly bring home a ribbon or two (and maybe even a crown).

Although the 2020 Montgomery County Fair was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Montgomery County Junior Fair Livestock Expo was held July 13-17 at the Fairgrounds on Infirmary Road. Exhibitors showed their livestock from trailers or trucks, as pen space was limited, and the event was live streamed. Similarly, nearby Clark County will be holding a fair July 25-29. In both counties, the fair is a Junior Fair only, not open to the public, with no rides and attendance open only to 4-H and FFA members who are showing their livestock and projects, along with their immediate families.

A very bright spot for Montgomery County came when Fair Queen Mackenzie Hoog was crowned Ohio’s Fairs’ Queen, representing all of the state’s fairs, after competing with 79 other fair queens from all over the Buckeye state. Mackenzie is a 10-year 4-H member, and a 4-year FFA member at Valley View High School. As Mackenzie summed up on her nomination form, “To be the Ohio Fairs’ Queen is more than just the sash and crown, but rather a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent the fairs that make our state unique.”