The 2015 Illinois State Fair wrapped up this past weekend. We came home the weekend before with kids, cattle and camper, then returned for Ag Day and let me say this: I think we barely survived.
Or as a friend texted me last week: State fair hangover is real.
The kids are tired, the clothes are washed, we raced through back-to-school motions. It's all good. We're just tired. And our dairy friends are in the same boat, though many of their kids had to miss their first day or two of school. I can imagine those are some haggard farmhouses this week, too.
But the fun was had, and the state fair had a general excitement level I haven't felt for a long time. Kids were PUMPED to show in the Coliseum (hot, yes, but pumped). I heard one little boy that afternoon say in awe, "I made it to the Coliseum."
You can bet that "making it to the Coliseum" has become a thing.
So to wrap up, I'll share with you a video of Governor Rauner's address to the thousand-plus crowd at the inaugural Agriculture Day Breakfast. The food was good, the company was better and the folks in charge said a lot of the right things.
A final state fair note: many of you said I should mention this, too, so I will. The Spangler family was incredibly honored with the Family Spirit Award from the Illinois 4-H Foundation. My mother-in-law has been a 4-H leader for 42 years, and is also a talented seamstress who has taught dozens of young people to sew, including many of her grandchildren. They'll all tell the same story: If Grandma says it needs to be "state fair quality," she's not kidding. Her standards are high and if a seam isn't right, you rip it out and do it again. And maybe again.
I kept thinking today how that's the story of what 4-H is for our people: you learn to give your very best, to do a job right, and if you get it wrong? You rip it out and try again. There's a big life lesson there.