Monday, August 15, 2011

County Fairs.

We had a great time at the Huntington County 4-H Fair again this year.  It was HOT, and we got a little overheated a couple times, but it was a ton of fun.  Uncle Matthew had plenty of animals there to keep us busy the whole time.  This is the epitome of county fairs for us.  Theo got to enjoy the special foods this year, including milkshakes (at least one every day-and I never bought him one) and tenderloins!

After we got back, I decided I wanted to see what the fairs were like around here.  I went to the Delaware State Fair in years past, but it was already over, so I picked a few other local fairs to try out. 

The Salem County Fair was in New Jersey, and was similar to Huntington's in the fact that it was not focused around a big mid-way, as there were no rides to speak of.  There were some "pig races" and other entertainment, but most of the fair was traditional in being centered around the agricultural and homemaker traditions.  However, I didn't find a lot of 4-H'er exhibits, but there were lots of open class entries.

I noted how each species was different from what I'm used to in Indiana. In the rabbit barn, I noticed almost all the breeds were purely "fancy" breeds, those raised almost exclusively for pets. Being that Huntington has a huge meat show, it was very different in that way.  The poultry was similar, in there being lots of unique laying breeds, but few meat broilers. 
We then sat through the entire cattle show.  I did a really job judging the showmanship class (which is also judged on how well the animal is fit), and matched up with the judge very well.  There were then three classes of steers, shown not by breed, but by weight.  Eventually the judge picked the heavyweight steer as the champion, and then had a quick class of four heifers. 

We noticed a lot of differences in the sheep barn as well.  In Indiana, almost all the sheep are market sheep, but here there were all sorts of varieties raised for their wool!  They were really interesting to see.  This guy I think was a Jacob breed.

The goats were not so different, though there were a lot of Lamancha goats (the ones with tiny ears) that I haven't saw in a while, and less of the Boer goats.  There were not many swine entries to compare, but what were there ranged in weight from 150-300 pounds!  There was a lot of variety.
Theo also enjoyed the "miniature horses" that were at the fair, something he didn't see during the Huntington fair.

Next, we went west to the Queen Anne's County Fair in Maryland.  This one was a little more typically, in the food court and mid-way rides.  Some animals had already been released by the time we got there, but we still got a pretty good feel for the fair.  It was fairly similar to the NJ fair, but had a few differences.  There were probably a few more beef cattle, and meat sheep instead of wool sheep.  They seemed to have a lot more 4-H exhibits (like the sea shell collection below).  And they had a lot of horse and pony exhibits. 

 All in all, these fairs were both awesome places to take Theodore, and he enjoyed himself immensely.  They don't really compare to the fairs we're used to in the Midwest, but they did make me feel a little more at home, even out here on the East coast.

No comments: