Saturday, August 3, 2013

County Fair

This week, Fun Friday found us at the local county fair with my mom and dad, who treated us all to a day filled with mischievous goats, peeping chicks, squabbling pigs, buzzing bees, and sweet treats. Of course, an agricultural fair on the first Friday in August could not have been more fitting, given the family legacy of Uncle Leo and Aunt Rita in Ventura County, California.  Separated by several thousand miles, I nonetheless felt very much as though we were at the Vanoni fair, in spirit if not in body. Some favorite moments:

We all loved this extremely naughty goat who was doggedly determined to eat anything and everything in his reach.  He devoured half of this poster before it was *finally* moved beyond his furthest stretch.  Maybe he was a very literate goat who didn't like being reminded that he and his pen mates are Meat Goats?
We got to stroke his soft neck and feel his warm nose nuzzle against our hands as we fed him grain.  I am always so impressed with the 4-H kids who are at these ag fairs. They are so knowledgeable about the animals, so responsible in their care for them, and so comfortable with the highs and lows of farm creatures - the muck and mud and the hard work they require; the joy of watching kids and calves being born; the sorrow of parting with them as they are sold at the end of the fair.  They aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, and they are patient and kind to the clueless city and suburbia folk who don't know a meat goat from a milk goat.  

Pax adored these little chicks and watched them for long minutes...
...before declaring, "Look Mom!  They are having a picnic!  A baby chick picnic!"

 We watched the pigs with their handlers as they were judged in the ring.  Unlike when the goats were in the show ring, the pig handlers each had a large, sturdy piece of plywood with a handle cut into the top.  I couldn't figure out what they were for until two large sows started squealing and were all up in each other's grill, grunting and pushing each other.  The boards came out to separate the pigs, and peace was restored once more.  My mom, observing the pigs and their handlers, turned to me and said, "Not a bad idea for your kids, eh?  Get a pig board and separate them when they start fighting like that!"  Personally, I think that is one of the most brilliant parenting suggestions she's ever passed down to me.

Last year, my mother-in-law made matching John Deere tractor shirts (or dresses) for every one of the 10 Vanoni great-grandchildren.  All I have to say is with as many compliments as they received on their shirts, I'm pretty sure they'd be shoo-ins for Best in Show:
Still thinking of our West Coast family and the Ventura County fair, I was delighted to spot an older couple that resembled the Leo and Rita of the county fair, although no one will ever quite live up to the Vanoni Legacy.  With my mom's clever distraction, I managed to sneak in a few photos of the Leo Vanoni doppelganger, (albeit a younger variation of the 98 year old legend). 

 And yet another Fun Friday memory was savored, then sealed away in our summer vault.

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