It’s been just over a week since the Kansas State Fair wrapped up. And wowza what a wild ride! It was my first year as Greteman Group brand manager for the state’s largest event. And I loved every minute of it. A #blastcall, you might say.

Seeing such a large event come together can be mindboggling. Take a minute and imagine all the things you enjoy at the fair – the foods, rides, animals, concerts, competitions, vendors, daily entertainers and many agricultural and educational displays. Now think of the people, resources and coordination needed to keep those activities running all day for 10 straight days. It’s an amazing effort, and I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to experience it from the inside.

Descending upon Hutchinson

Working in the publicity office, I experienced firsthand an impressive and critical component of the fair’s success: the media. Reporters and photographers descend upon Hutchinson in search of tantalizing stories. They pound the pavement for hours toting tools of the storytelling trade – cameras, lighting equipment, notebooks, computers, microphones and more. We read and see the results of their often-arduous efforts in newspapers, magazines, television, radio and online.

The media often gets a bad rap as just wanting to dish the dirt, make a politician squirm or chase the proverbial ambulance. My experience was exactly the opposite. I saw reporters who attended the fair daily. Who were up with the roosters and walking in the gates as they opened. Who dove deep into the full fair experience, participating in activities, getting to know people and doing all they could to vividly translate that to the outside world.

Diving Deep

Kansas State Fair General Manager Susan Sankey sat down with KSN's Katie Taube for a live interview prior to the fair.

Their coverage took us on agricultural adventures and brought us stories recognizing the work of farmers (#ThankAFarmer). They highlighted the role of veterinarians at the birthing center who not only educate but enthrall a new generation. They inspired us with a heartwarming story of an arm-wrestling champion overcoming his disabilities and made us smile watching kids meet troopers on a train. They kept us laughing with lessons on everything from butter sculpting to poop scooping.

Just like most things, I guess, once you delve deeper you discover complexities under the surface. A realm where the Fourth Estate shines a light on the world around us in its valued and needed role as watchdog. But it also acts as a builder of community. Bringing experiences to us we might not know otherwise. Connecting us. Educating us. And inspiring us to dive into the wonders (and fairs) around us. The fair wouldn’t be what it is without the media’s priceless support.