Hopefully, NDSF never abandons kids’ roots

There are the concerts. There are the rides. There are the games. There is the food, the commercial buildings and other vendors.

There are a host of attractions that bring people to the North Dakota State Fair.

Hopefully, though, the NDSF never abandons or minimizes the importance of youth exhibits and competitions.

Why is this a worry? Well, it has nothing to do with any announced decisions by the NDSF to be clear. The worry is because other state fairs in other agriculture-oriented Midwestern states have witnessed that focus diminish, in lieu of strictly profit-driven components. And that is a shame.

From arts and crafts to the communications arts to a host of agriculture and animal husbandry exhibits, kids’ involvement in the state fair are goals to which young people aspire all year; they are the purest aspect of the largely commercial-driven fair; they bring families from near and far; they encourage young people in areas far removed from smart phones and gaming consoles. They were the essence of many fairs in their golden age in the mid-late 20th century.

A fair that becomes more fun park than community celebration is a different animal, less appealing to some, less nostalgic to others.

NDSF hasn’t abandoned its roots – the same roots from which grew most state fairs. Let’s hope that never changes, that we never abandon our roots, that our fairs of tomorrow continue to look like the fairs of yesterday.

That’s what makes for a special occasion.