The desire for an increased focus on youth has led to a dramatic change in the schedule for the 2013 Kingdom of Callaway County Fair.
Rather than exhibiting home arts and livestock at the county fair, this year 4-H and FFA students will be taking part in the first-ever Callaway Youth Expo July 10-13 at the fairgrounds.
"We're starting a new, totally youth-focused thing," said Tommy Lee, a former fair board member who has helped coordinate the livestock shows at the county fair for years.
A letter prepared by Callaway Youth Expo Committee President Carson Humphreys for potential sponsors explains that: "In the weeks following the Callaway County Fair this past summer, a group of concerned individuals felt that more could be done to showcase all youth of Callaway County. After numerous conversations and meetings with 4-H and FFA leaders and members and the current fair board, all parties decided it was time for a change." The letter goes on to explain that by separating out the youth exhibition events, "our hope is that we can create an event that is geared toward teaching and encouraging the youth of Callaway County."
President Billy Spencer said the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair Board is behind whatever the 4-H and FFA programs want to do.
"We'd welcome them back, but whatever they need, we'll support them," Spencer said. "They said a lot of fairs are doing this now, and they wanted to try it, see what it's like this year."