The fairgrounds today will be a parade of flatbeds. Its music will be the heavy lifting soundtrack of moving and construction, the calming tones used to soothe nervous creatures, the snap of putting kids to work when they want to run off and see their fair friends.

Today, the animals arrive for the Northwestern Michigan Fair, which runs through Aug. 10.

Tomorrow the fair starts with a pancake breakfast and a full docket of events, from goat obstacle courses to draft horse rides to displays of dog agility and obedience. All for $1 — $6 if you eat pancakes.

Kids, starting from 5 years old, work on projects which run the gamut from bunnies and Guinea pigs to steer and swine. Some are for show; some go to market. The experience kids gain in participating in these 4-H projects is invaluable ... not just because they know the difference between cock and a cockrel or the location of a dog’s withers. For them, handling beef isn’t grabbing a hamburger. It’s caring for a 1,250-pound cow.

They learn responsibility, the value of hard work and the importance of continuing our area’s strong agricultural tradition.

According to Fair President Joe Hubbell, the number of people involved with the fair is growing. They’ve also improved the fairgrounds this year with new parking lot lights and power supply to another camping area.

Many area farming families look forward to this week, and will be firmly planted at the fairgrounds for the duration.

Celebrating their achievements is a good time for all.