This whole summer, Wyatt and I have been reading and talking about farms – we have visited farms, stayed at a farm, read many books about farms (including Charlotte’s Web), and still have some farm plans ahead of us. So when the Monroe County Fair rolled around this year, I knew we had to go.
I grew up going to this fair. Every summer, the first week of August, we would meet my aunts and uncles and cousins and spend an evening eating pie from my cousin’s grandmother’s church stand, probably a pie that she had made herself, riding the rides, climbing up and sitting on the tractors, and looking at all of the animals, my favorite part. As I got older, we didn’t go as a family anymore. But I still went. As a teenager my friends and I would drive down and hang out, when Billy and I started dating I dragged him down to the fair, I met my dad and my nephew there for a few years, and when we had Wyatt, I met my cousin and his family there, along with my aunt and uncle, for the first time since we were kids.
This year, we had to go. It had been too long. Unfortunately, there was a heat advisory for our area this weekend so we thought perhaps we should stay home. We talked about it since Wyatt is not great in the heat, but after some discussion, we decided it would be fine if we went early. So, first thing Saturday morning we took off for the fair, getting there just as the gates opened at 9 am.
It was a ghost town compared to the evenings, when the midway is packed and the smell of popcorn and elephant ears drifts at you from every corner. We were pretty much the only people there who were not there to take care of their animals, and all the 4-h kids and their parents were busy cleaning and feeding and mucking out stalls. The horse competition had started an hour earlier, so that was going on as well, horses getting made all pretty before entering the ring.
It was nice to have the room to move around and view the animals so early. Wyatt was so quiet, taking it all in. I don’t think he could believe how close we were to these huge animals! We started with the cows, and immediately saw the dairy cows from the farm nearest us, that we often get milk and butter and most importantly, ice cream from – the Calder Dairy Farm.
Next we moved across the street to my favorite building of all – the bunnies and the chickens!
I stopped and talked to probably every rabbit there. I thought of the hutch rabbits in Watership Down, and wondered what Hazel and his gang would think of some of these cute floofs – or the Flemish Giant who was lounging in a place of honor. He was as big as Wyatt! The small animal auction was scheduled for 11 am, but Billy was a real stick in the mud and said there was no way we were taking home a rabbit. Hmmph. One day. It is ok, I don’t think I could have decided between them all anyway! Well, maybe that little one on top there, the first photo. So stinking cute!
From here we wandered back to the larger animals, the sheep and the goats.
One young 4-H Club member was proud to tell us about his sheep, and he should have been proud. He also was keen to share his knowledge with us, and explained that in addition to shearing the sheep so they stay cool, they also do it so the judges can see the muscle structure. I hope that kid and his sheep earned a blue ribbon!
By this point Wyatt was having his hungriest moment and we were all turning into melted puddles from the heat and humidity. So we took a quick little break at the restaurant run by the 4-H kids, and Wyatt enjoyed a huge waffle.
Once we rehydrated and Wyatt finished eating, it was time to explore the barns of exhibits. I love seeing what these kids create! I even saw a few projects that I am going to incorporate into our homeschool year, like that little paper pie!
After this, there wasn’t much more left as it was still so early. The food trucks were just getting ready for business, the rides were not open yet, so we sort of circle one area and called it a morning. I was happy to see the church booth I used to eat pie at was still there, still serving pie. And has been for 75 years! We also saw these amazing woodcarvings.
And that was that. We moseyed back to the car, feeling pretty darn good about our morning! Although, I really would have liked one of those rabbits…