Painting the Fairgrounds
Abigail Peterson and Brent Miller
In early August every year, hundreds of individuals gather under one roof to demonstrate what they have been working every day and night to perfect. These individuals put in countless grueling hours working towards one end goal – to perform to their highest potential. These individuals are exhibitors at the county fair. Often times, when thinking of community service projects, the county fair is not one that readily comes to mind. Nonetheless Abby Peterson and myself, Brent Miller, knew this would be an extremely beneficial project. Both of us have been working with, and showing livestock since before we were eight years old. Over the past few years, it has become apparent how neglected some of the buildings on the fairgrounds have become. In our Community Studio project, Abby and I set a “high” goal of repainting all the weathered poles in the show arena complex (all the way to the top), and also repainted “Stage Left” which is used for the 4-H awards ceremonies. Both of these were in desperate need of repair and have been severely neglected (The poles were last painted nearly 30 years ago, and the stage had either peeling paint or bare wood exposed).
This project will leave a lasting impact that will allow our fairgrounds to be more aesthetically appealing for the years to come. Over the next decade, the benefits of this project will have touched hundreds of new 4-H members. Not only will the results of this project aid in the aesthetic beauty of the fairgrounds, these improvements will preserve the fair’s great experience for youth by preventing the buildings from deteriorating any further, and preventing the wood from rotting.
While the impacts of this project will be lasting, there were numerous challenges and successes throughout this project. The greatest challenge of this project revolves around the nature of Nebraska. We painted the elements of our project this Spring, and as any Nebraskan knows, the weather in Spring is unpredictable. From rain, to snow, to 30 mile per hour winds, the Nebraska weather never cooperated. Our planned date of painting was scheduled and changed multiple times due to these adverse conditions. The date that was finally settled upon was windy. While wind and heights do not mix well, this was the best time that was available in the foreseeable future due to both weather conflicts and our crazy high school schedules. Another significant challenge of this project was that Abby was scared of heights. While this presented a few challenges in regards to painting the poles. Over the course of this project Abby grew more comfortable on a ladder, and began to expand her personal limits. This was one major success of this project. Other successes of our project was that we were able to eventually accomplish the end goal of painting the grounds. Finding a date alone was tough, but we prevailed in the end. The greatest success of this project is actually completing the painting. As soon as the painting was completed, it became evident that our work greatly aided in improving the beauty of the fairgrounds.
Throughout the course of this project, there were several people that helped make our end goal become a reality. Steiny at Steiny’s General Store assisted with this project by helping us pick out the ideal paint, as well as by providing a small discount on the supplies we purchased through him. In addition to this, The Burt County Ag Society agreed to cover all costs incurred above those that were covered through our fundraising. Other individuals that aided in making this project come to fruition were our siblings and parents who helped donate time in the painting and other aspects of this project.