The annual Riley County Fair ended Monday, and that meant the end of the all the fun things that go with it: the bright lights and exhilarated screams of the Ottawa Amusements carnival, and the excitement and belt-buckle-wearing pageantry of the Kaw Valley Rodeo.

But a big part of the fair — the part that really is the fair itself — is all the projects produced by local residents. So many adults and youth bring in animals, furniture or vegetables they’ve been working on for months to be judged, and while those things may not have the adrenaline-pumping danger of, say, the rodeo, they’re pretty darn impressive.

We hope you had a chance to get down to the fairgrounds and see the intricately decorated cakes, for instance — multicolored, fondant-covered and carefully frosted for competition.

This year’s fair had lots of LEGO entries, many of which were displayed as complex dioramas. One entry by 13-year-old Jayda Juenemann was a LEGO replica of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Leoville, Kansas. (That church, evidently, has a similar design to the beautiful Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church near Paxico.) It took her a year to build it.

There were hand-sewn quilts and three-piece wool suits. There were professional-looking flower arrangements, and a winner for “longest bean.”

Then there was the livestock, fed and watered daily by the youth who lovingly raised them. Plump pigs, shorn sheep, cute bucket calves and a dairy goat that balanced obediently on a bench while it was milked.

If you worry about what young people are like today, go to a county fair. It’ll make you feel better.

And even if you missed all of that in person, please check out the remaining fair results, which are running in the newspaper today and tomorrow. These folks — especially the 4-H kids — are what the fair is all about.

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