09/27/12 — And away they go - Livestock take their places as 2012 Wayne Regional Fair opens

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And away they go - Livestock take their places as 2012 Wayne Regional Fair opens

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 27, 2012 1:46 PM

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Megan Minchew, 6, hugs her pony, Diamond, before leaving him for the night at Wayne County Fairgrounds stables.

Speedy didn't appear to be too fretful about living up to his name Wednesday night as he stretched out and relaxed with a bowl of his favorite food just a nibble away.

He was content to twitch his nose, and did not seem anxious about the comings and goings of the children and their rabbits, poultry, goats, horses and cows at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.

Ava Britt, 6, is hopeful that Speedy, her junior buck rabbit, will win her some cold hard cash at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair, which begins its 11-day run today at 4 p.m. The midway opens at 5 p.m.

Ava and her brothers, Levi, 4, Cole, 8, and Jake, 13, were among the hundreds of children who brought animals to the fairgrounds Wednesday night in advance of opening day.

Others lugged in their fair entries or were busy setting up their booths. While the midway wasn't open, some people took the opportunity to walk around and check out the animals and displays.

Just as he has for 28 years, Milton Ingram was busy racing around the animal areas to check on the progress. It was something of a bittersweet moment for Ingram, who is retiring as fair manager. But he was all smiles as he watched the children bring in their animals.

"It is a good learning experience for them. It teaches them responsibility. I think you can contribute it to our Extension (Service) keeping them interested, too."

The livestock shows at the fair begin tonight with the open junior market hog show at 6 p.m. The open junior meat goat show will be held Friday at 6 p.m. and the open junior market lamb show will be held Saturday at noon.

Ava had another, more practical reason to enter Speedy.

"She wants to win money," her brother Cole said.

But if Speedy wins, Ava said she doesn't plan to split the winnings with her brothers.

"You bet, and said you would give me half the money," Cole reminded her.

"Nope," she said. "I did not make that bet."

Her plans for any winnings: "Buy some toys."

"I look after him in the cage," Ava said. "Jake cleans up behind the rabbit. Levi and Cole just watch Speedy. We have to feed him. Give him water and that kind of stuff.

"I think he will be happy with all of the other rabbits," she added.

She said her friends like Speedy and think that "he is really cute" -- the very reason that she likes rabbits.

One building over, Megan Minschew, 6, had just gotten Diamond, her 9-year-old mare, settled in with a little help from her parents, Steve and Amy Minschew, and older sister, Jessica, 16, all of Goldsboro.

"My dad bought me Diamond, and I was excited," Megan said. "You have to brush them and wash them and lead her around and let her have some grass. I pretty much do it (look after the horse) on my own."

It is the first time that Megan has entered an event at the fair, but she said she is looking forward to the horse show next Thursday.

Megan admitted to being nervous about the prospect of walking Diamond around in front of fairgoers, but she was confident she would be all right.

Rather than the boots with tassels she was wearing Wednesday, Megan said her boots for the show would be red and have sparkles and a chain on them. A cowgirl hat will complete her outfit, she said.

Megan said she wasn't sad about leaving Diamond at the fair because there are other horses.

The sisters also have two rabbits, Minnie and Mickey, on display.

"I hope they will win ribbons," Megan said. "I think they will win four."

If they win money, she plans to split it with her parents and sister.

Sisters Sara Tyndall, 12, and Erica Alonzo, 10, of Mount Olive had planned to wash Sara's quarter horse, Southern Angel, but had to put the bath off until later because there was no hose available at the time in the wash pit.

Taking care of a horse is a lot of work, but the two girls said they don't mind, not even when it comes to shoveling out the stables.

"We come every day at nighttime," Sara said.

Sara said they enjoy riding the rides at the fair and taking the horses out to graze in the pasture.

Neither will enter the horse show, but are hopeful their horses will take home ribbons.

"I like doing it," Sara said. "We are going to wash them and braid their (mane) hair. I taught her how to. We don't do the tail because the tail gets knotted up easily."