Each year when the County Fair is in full swing, we make a venture out to our local fairgrounds. Our fair is small (very, very small compared to many other county fairs – but then our county is pretty small), but that’s part of what makes it a great experience.
My boys love animals, so we spent lots of time wandering through the animal barns. We met city kids showing backyard chickens as well as kids living in more rural areas showing goats, sheep, pigs, and cows.
My 6-year-old dreams of establishing his own homestead, so he wandered through the sheep trying to figure out which type he was going to have on his farm. His great plans include shearing the sheep, spinning the wool into yarn, weaving that yarn into cloth, and making all of the clothes his household needs.
He spoke about this with several different people, taking in what they had to say about sheep varieties, types of wool, as well as different shearing practices. Apparently, I have my work cut out for me in learning to do these things myself so I can help him to learn –What fun!
We also spent lots of time at the petting zoo. My 2-year-old wanted to visit the various animals again and again. He doesn’t often get the chance to touch livestock animals, so this was a real treat for him.
As we wandered through the fair there were lots of things to see and discuss. My 6-year-old had questions about raising animals as pets versus raising them for food. He wanted to know how much of a field you needed to feed a cow a grass-only diet, how much wool you can get from a sheep per year, and if a goat would “trim weeds for fire mitigation.” (That last question reflects the fact that we live in the mountains where wildfires are a real concern.)
While learning about the food produced locally within our county, my boys even had the opportunity to learn how to milk a pretend cow.
We avoided the midway, but my both boys had fun riding ponies and jumping in a bounce house. By the time we were ready to go, the afternoon sun was high, and it was extremely hot, we had spent almost 5 hours at the fair.
During this time, we had one complete melt-down. It occurred when my 2-year-old learned that the pony he rode twice wasn’t coming home with us. His shrieks of “More, please,” and “My horse! My horse!” echoed throughout the fairgrounds for a good 20 minutes after his last ride. He kept trying to charge back into the pony ring to get back on his horse. Poor baby!
In all, it was a fun, educational way to spend the afternoon. We learned a little bit more about local livestock and agriculture, and my 6-year-old found lots of people who were happy to answer his questions and hear about his homestead dreams.
Do you attend your local County Fair? What are your highlights? Are pony rides at your fair $7 for 7 circles around a small (12-ft diameter?) turn-style?