Marion County Fair is 'fairly' exciting for local young people
Marion County held its annual fair at the historic Oregon State Fairgrounds July 12-15. The event attracted about 27,000 attendees and hundreds of kids from 4H and FFA programs around the county who came to show off their prize-winning livestock.
Other attractions included the ever-popular All Alaskan Racing Pigs, a petting zoo full of llamas and alpacas, carnival rides, miniature tractor races, dog relay races, and STEAM Stage Labs' science-based activities for kids. A highlight of the fair was a livestock auction at the end of the animal shows, where kids sold off their prize-winning beasts to the highest bidder.
One of those prize-winning animals was a goat named Milkdud, awarded second in class for meat market. Milkdud's owner Skye Schultz, of Gervais, was showing for her first year at the Marion County Fair. She was inspired to start showing by friends who show sheep and said it was a good experience.
"I like it because it gives you responsibility," Schultz said. "You have to take care of it, you can't let others take care of it for you."
Lily McCargar, also of Gervais, was showing for her fourth year at the fair. Her charge was a pig, Mousy, which she was busy spritzing with water and brushing down ahead of a showing on Friday. McCargar raised Mousy from a few weeks old.
"You get 'em younger so you can practice," McCargar said.
Showing is about presentation: controlling the animal and being confident as you parade before the judge, she said.
"I like showing, seeing how good you can walk with the animal and how well they trust you," McCargar said.
4H member Alexis Goughnour, of St. Paul, is an old hand at the Marion County Fair. She's shown horses at the fair for the past nine years. This year was her first showing a cow: an amber-eyed calf named Feline, to be exact.
Goughnour's sister has shown cattle through 4H for the last three years, and this year Goughnour was with her when a cow gave birth to Feline.
"When I saw her I kind of fell in love, so I'm here now showing," Goughnour said.
Feline is small for a calf her age, and her hide is a glossy reddish brown with dark accents. It's a result of her being crossbred: three-quarters Holstein and one-quarter Jersey, Goughnour said. Feline was shown in the crossbreed category.
Goughnour said her love of animals and the spirit of the fair have kept her coming back.
"I love the atmosphere here," she said. "Competitors become friends."