Fair season is here and it’s come faster than we all imagined. Our kids are already hauling themselves back to school and hitting the books, and we’re all trying to squeeze just a little bit more of summer out of each day. Many families across South Dakota, including mine, are also flocking to the local fair for a day or evening full of rides and delicious food.

Our state’s fair tradition reminds me how lucky I am to call South Dakota home. These fairs have become much more than a night out with family and friends. Kids from all around our state showcase their talents through cattle shows, baked goods and roping competitions. Bryon and I take our three kids, Kassidy, Kennedy and Booker, out to taste test, cheer on riders and walk through the livestock barns. I continue to be amazed by the hard work and dedication that some of our kids put into raising and showing their animals. It is a wonderful display of our state culture and community.

Fairs also give us a unique opportunity to reconnect with South Dakotans from all walks of life. Just the other day, I was remembering the many nights Bryon and I walked cattle around the State Fairgrounds in Huron in the middle of the night, allowing the cattle to release some pent-up energy from the day’s show. Sometimes, these moments feel like they just happened yesterday and they are so special to me, which is why I will continue to bring my family out to some of the best gatherings our state has to offer.

I was recently in Rapid City for the Central States Fair and had a great day meeting and talking with folks from all across the state. My daughter, Kassidy, came along with me and we enjoyed making new friends, sampling some good food on the midway, and good entertainment at the rodeo that evening.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to make a trip to a fair this year, I hope you’ll consider joining me at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron on Friday, August 30th. I’ll be hosting a town hall at the Women’s Building with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas at 11:00am CDT and would love to hear what’s on your mind.

No matter which county or local fair is in your area, all fairs present a unique opportunity to create lasting memories with friends, family and the entire South Dakota community. I hope to see you at a South Dakota fair sometime soon.

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