The Carroll County Fair: a week during the summer where jeans and boots are mandatory, fried food is required, and everyone digs down to find their inner cowgirl or cowboy. The appeal of the fair is easy to understand: good food, good friends and great entertainment. It is a pit beef sandwich with fries, the roar of a country concert, the crash of the derby cars, and the raw power of the pulling horses.

The Carroll County Fair is also the culmination of weeks, months and even years of preparation and practice for 4-H and FFA members of all ages. It is when the long hours of walking sheep, washing cows, clipping horses and feeding hogs finally pay off. When the extra attention spent waiting for the perfect photo, baking the ultimate cake, sewing an amazing dress, or growing an heirloom tomato is realized.


The county fair is many things: a destination, entertainment, opportunity, reward, nostalgia, family-fun, competition and more. Perhaps most importantly of all, the fair is a wonderful example of business involvement in the community. It would take the entire content of this column to list every business and individual that has donated, in some manner, to the Carroll County Fair. There are those who provide services that help prepare for the fair and keep it running smoothly. Then there are businesses and individuals who come out and support the 4-H/FFA by purchasing animals at the livestock sale, sponsor prizes, and bid on cakes at the cake auction.

But you may ask yourself, as a small business, is it worth your resources to invest in your community? And the answer is yes.

• Businesses that are involved in their community may enjoy increased name and brand recognition.

• Community involvement is positive way to engage your consumer base and become aware of their needs and interests. This allows you to tailor your products or services to the individuals most likely to utilize them.

• Demonstrating that your business is invested in the community can help you to stand out in increasingly competitive markets.

• By investing in your community youth you are investing in the future workforce.

•And lastly the intrinsic 'feel good' aspect of getting involved should never be discounted.

There are thousands of ways a business can get involved in their community; the Carroll County Fair is just one example. Strong communities are good for business and by investing in the community you are also investing in yourselves. I urge you to examine your community, they are your consumers, and decide whether you are invested or not. Do you need to become more involved?

As for the Carroll County Fair, it is over for this year. But when it time for the festivities again next year I can sincerely say that I hope to see you at the fair.

Diana Hare is the Agriculture Development Specialist for Carroll County; she aids in the development and expansion of agribusinesses and advocates for the agricultural community. Diana can be reached a