We’ve been exhibiting animals at the Erie County Fair my entire life. In fact, Dad has shown cows there every year since 1975! Since I bring my goats, pigs and cows I literally live at the fair for the entire 10 days. It’s a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work. At 5am I have to get up and milk the cows, then clean out their beds, give each one of them a bath, feed them and sweep up. Then I have to head over to the goat and pig barn and do all the same things for them, and that’s just the morning chores! Thankfully my dad, Addie and Marcus all show animals as well. We all work together to get the jobs done. By the end of the fair you’re definitely tired! (that’s the understatement of the century 🙂 ) Here are some pictures we took during the fair!
Here’s a pic of our “show string” as it’s called. In other words, our cows relaxing on their specially tended beds. My dad may never make his own bed, but he takes very particular care that the cow beds are made perfect.
My favorite part of the whole fair was definitely winning Jersey Grand Champion with my cow Annabelle!! I never in a million years thought I would! For those of you who don’t know much about showing cows, Grand Champion means your cow was the best one at the fair out of their breed (in my case the Jersey breed).
“The best day I ever had!” That’s how one kid described his Farm 2 Table field trip. And who could blame him? In a time when most kids think that milk comes from a carton, this child had the opportunity to pet real live calves and piglets, talk to a maple farmer, and plant his own pizza garden.
Farm 2 Table is a unique field trip experience for 3rd and 4th graders hosted by the Erie County Agricultural Society. My sister Addison and I have helped since the program started in October 2010. Two Farm 2 Tables are hosted each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Each day for a week schools come to the Erie County Fairgrounds for an awesome learning experience about agriculture. The trip costs nothing, in fact each school wa given $100 per bus to offset transportation costs.
Addison and I have helped on various stations, including sheep (where the kids made their own Ojo de Dios craft with 100% wool yarn) and the goat station (where my own goats were on exhibit for the kids to pet). This June we were once again placed on the pig station with our wonderful station leader Laura. Our station actually had piglets for the kids to pet after they heard a talk about pigs and labled where pigs originated on a map.
After our station they went to a variety of others, including:
Chicken: a chance to see a live chicken as well as day old chicks and goslings
Cow: the kids got to go on a cow scavenger hunt and “milk” our resident fake cow Mable in Milkable Mable’s Stable
Bees: learn about the fascinating life of bees and how honey is produced
Maple: get to taste both fake and real maple syrup (the Maple leader got frusterated because most kids liked fake over real 🙂 )
Chia Pets: a grass “hair” growing pet planter
Gro-Ums: garden kits with themes like pizza, salad, and taco
Blacksmith: a live demonstration by Paul Gresz
All the kids have a blast and don’t even realize all the things they are learning about agriculture and where their food comes from. This year they all got to sign planter boxes that were later used during the fair. After they went through all the stations the kids ate string cheese and milk with their lunches. Before each kid went home they were given a goodie bag full of cool stuff like a horse shoe and passes for their parents to come to the fair (kids are free).