While everyone had their reasons for attending this year's Butler County fair held from July 19 through Sunday, one overarching theme was spending time with loved ones and uniting members of the community.

One of those people was Shirley Hilger, who was at the fair with her grandchildren who live in O'Neil and Hastings. It has been a long-standing tradition of the Hilger family to visit grandma's for a week to enjoy quality time at the fair.

"(My grandkids have) been doing this for quite a while," Hilger said. "They love the Butler County Fair and they love the swimming pool in David City. So, grandma brings them to her house this weekend. I pick them up and I bring them home and I keep them for three or four days before I take them home so they get their fill of the fair and the swimming pool. They love our swimming pool, their swimming pool isn’t quite as nice as ours is here."

One of the biggest highlights, which lined the streets of David City, was the Sunday Butler County Parade. Curtis Lukert was one of the many who brought out kids to enjoy the festivities.

"The kids like to look at the different floats and see all the different people from around town and what they’re sponsoring and showing off," he said.

Like many Butler County residents, Lukert believes that local events like the parade our important for the community.

"I think it’s pretty important as far as the localization of it," he said. "Without it, we would spend our money elsewhere. It keeps the money here in Butler County."

Fair Board President Donnie Steager said he was happy with how the 2019 campaign turned out.

"I think it went really well," he said. "The heat at the beginning of the week limited us in some areas, kept some people at home. Thursday night we had our wine tasting and that didn’t limit anybody. We had a really good turnout for that. It did hurt us a little bit in number for the demolition derby."

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With the heat index, temperatures soared into the triple digits on Thursday and Friday before dipping into the 90s on Saturday and Sunday.

Steager reiterated what many fair-goers say about the community aspect.

"I believe this is great for bringing the community together," he said. "For education and entertainment. It gets people to meet their neighbors again and people you haven’t seen all year long."

For Steager, one of his favorite part of the fair is the 4-H and FFA portions.

"One of the biggest highlights for me is just 4-H and FFA," he said. "They’re just fantastic to get kids learning in their work ethics and all that. FFA kids helped out a lot during the shows. That’s my highlight is watching those kids grow every year. That would be my highlight of the fair."

Hilger also enjoyed the 4-H portion of the fair and recalled when her kids use to participate in the events.

"I think 4-H is a good thing," she said. "My kids were all in 4-H and I think it teaches them a lot - I really do. I think the fair brings a lot of people into town, family members. My family members still love to come from the time when they were little kids. You have to remember their moms and dads are in their 30s. It brings the community together."

Peter Huguenin is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at peter.huguenin@lee.net

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