It's that time of year again when the leaves are about to turn, the days get shorter and our kids go back to school. But before the summer ends, families are invited to attend the South Dakota State Fair from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 in Huron.
For the last six years, the State Fair has charted a consistent trend of success, with year-over-year increases in virtually all areas. Since 2006, attendance has increased an incredible 44 percent, from 133,000 to more than 192,000, and with good weather, we may set another all-time record in 2013.
Once again, all of the 1,300-plus campsites will be full, vendor spaces are sold-out and exhibit numbers continue to be strong.
As always, there will be plenty of things to see and do.
Come enjoy music and other entertainment on six different free stages and the grandstand. Bring your kids to the pig races or the FFA animal nursery. Stroll over for some cotton candy or go on a carnival ride. Test your skill in the arm wrestling competition, the hot dog eating contest or the beef and chili cook-offs.
Experience a taste of the Old West at the bull riding and cowboy mounted shooting events. Grab a cold one in the beer garden and wine pavilion, or reminisce with an old friend on a trolley ride around the grounds.
Of course, don't forget to support tomorrow's leaders -- our 4-H and FFA members -- by viewing their static projects and livestock exhibits.
You can check out the full schedule of events online at www.sdstatefair.com.
As part of the Fair's continuing improvement efforts, the State Fair Foundation and 4-H are partnering on a $4 million capital campaign to construct a new, multi-use 4-H Exhibition Hall to replace the old Clover Hall.
This project will provide space to showcase the hard work of our young people and engage them in hands-on learning activities. It will also help students prepare for careers in engineering, manufacturing, mechanics and agriculture -- jobs that are available now and that will be in ever-greater demand in the coming years. The project is supported entirely by private donations; to contribute or find out more, please call 605-353-7340.
I am proud of Manager Jerome Hertel and the Department of Agriculture who have done a great job of building the Fair into one of South Dakota's premier events. Come experience this continuing trend of success by bringing your family to the starry nights and midway lights of the South Dakota State Fair. I hope to see you there!