10/01/09 — Farm animals ready for fair debut

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Farm animals ready for fair debut

By Laura Collins
Published in News on October 1, 2009 1:46 PM

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Jeff Turner, right, of Shiloh Farm Ministries in Goldsboro, watches as Jeff Hardin of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture tags and tests his chickens as contestants bring in their poultry exhibits for judging during the 61st annual Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair at the Wayne County Fairgrounds this morning.

Although the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair doesn't officially open until 4 p.m. today, Jeff Turner began getting ready at 4:30 a.m.

Turner, the 4-H program director at Shiloh Farm, started preparing the chickens, ducks, turkeys and pheasants to be shown early in the morning and arrived with about two dozen of them in tow.

"We had to gather them up, get them ready and load them up. Everyone in the 4-H group has an animal in the fair," Turner said.

Judging was to begin this afternoon as the 61st annual edition of the award-winning fair gets started. It will run through Oct. 1 and fair organizers hope the good weather will hold out.

The fair, sponsored by the Wayne County Livestock Development Association, is being held at the Wayne County Fairgrounds on U.S. 117 South. Gates open to the public today at 4 p.m.

Topping the billing for today will be the high school vocational contests, the junior goat show and a youngster's scramble for $500 in quarters at 6 p.m. behind the grandstand.

The fair will feature, as usual, carnival rides, games, music, comedy shows, antique farm equipment, exhibits of the best of Wayne County's fields and gardens as well as arts and crafts of all types and a western-style gunfight. And there will be plenty to eat, from the cotton candy and corn dogs of vendors to the homestyle cheeseburgers and fries at the local fire department and church eateries.

Turner noted that none of the animals he brought in this morning will be slaughtered after the fair. All will return to their petting farm, he said.

Between Wednesday night and this morning, animal stalls at the fairgrounds were quickly filling up in preparation of the opening day. This year. the fair is housing about 80 large animals including cattle, horses, pigs and goats. Officials expect more than 100 small animals, such as poultry and rabbits.

People getting ready for the flower show were also preparing their exhibits Wednesday afternoon. Rachel Rawls, show director, said competitors were dropping off their flowers, and "grooming" them, making sure there were no leaves in the water, and that they had a nice clear vase.

"They come by and get it all in place," Mrs. Rawls said. "They're coming by in droves. Everybody wants a blue ribbon."

The judging for the flowers can take up to two hours.

Mother and daughter Sylvia Stevens, Learn to Live 4-H leader, and Holly Stevens, 17, were busy setting up their 4-H booth.

"I love it, it looks really good. They have some nice booths this year," Mrs. Stevens said.

Holly, a senior at Southern Wayne High School, said her mind was somewhere else.

"Cotton candy, I've been thinking about it all day," she said.

Sandra Scoggins dropped off baked goods at the fair Wednesday. She is entering chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies and peanut brittle for the competition.

Girl Scout Scarlet Casey, of Dudley Girl Scout Troop 1612, seemed to be most entertained by the animals. To a mooing cow she said, "You don't sound so good," and added that the sheep made her nervous.

"It went 'baa' right in my face," she said.