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Thirteen things I learned at the county fair

August 24th, 2003 · No Comments

Grandma, the girls and I went to the Kitsap County Fair on Thursday.
Here are 13 things I learned…..

1. Abigail likes horses.

I think I already knew this one, but it was like watching her fall in love.
First, she and her sister took their first pony ride, holding onto the saddle horn, pony trotting around in a circle until a timer dinged. Next, we went to the farm animal section, where the first thing we saw was the equestrians. We watched for a while, then I said we should go see some other animals. “More horses,” said Abigail….

2. Abigail is sensitive.

In the sheep barn, one animal was bleating as it was being sheared. It’s head was restrained and the cry was one of anger and upset. The sound disturbed me, and it also seemed to affect Abigail, who kept looking at the sheep.
Me: How do you think the sheep feels?
Abigail: Mad. Sad.
Me: How do you feel?
Abigail: Mad. Sad.
Me: I do too.

Then, in the swine barn, Abigail asked “do those tags on their ears hurt them?”

3. Michaela is brave.

Michaela’s bravery and boldness has been one of her features since birth, so again, not a big surprise, but it was fun to see her be so fearless at the fair: going on her first pony ride and petting alligators and snakes. She doesn’t hesitate and doesn’t want to miss out on anything!

4. Nothing compares to being a pregnant cow.

At the fair, a couple cows close to their due dates stood in the straw, sides bulging in the heat. I realized that during my pregnancies I had had nothing to complain about!

5. There’s more than one Reptile Man.

The fair newspaper and people referred to “Reptile Man” so I thought we would see the same show we saw at the library in July. But instead of Scott Peterson, “Reptile Man” , Don Riggs, Reptile King (also referred to by the fair on the schedule as Reptile Isle) appeared. It seems that “Reptile Man” must not be copyrighted! Riggs said that there are 3 companies in the state that do what he does. I was surprised that the marketplace can support 3 Reptile Men in Washington.

Reptile Man, Scott Peterson, would fit well on NPR, perhaps not a Garrison Keillor sidekick, but close: calm, educating, control. Don Riggs, Reptile King, reminds me a bit more of Don King, the promoter. He had a more casual appearance, like a grad student, with shorts, glittering earring and ponytail, but more show, louder and simpler, lots of yelling.

6. Snakes have 247 teeth.

Learned this too from Reptile King. He listed off a bunch of toothed snakes, including “garter snakes”…so guess I’ll be more careful next time I find such a snake in our fountain …..

7. A two-headed turtle can bring you fame and fortune.

Reptile King’s last animal was a tiny Siamese-twin turtle about to be featured on a couple TV shows – along with him, of course. He said that there are only 5 of these in the world, and that a 4-inch one (larger than his) just sold for $150K.

8. I could enter my cookies in the fair next year

Yes, a helpful volunteer explained to me how I could ask for a premium book at a feed store next July and find out how to enter the County competition…..maybe the girls could do something too…..hmmmm

9. There are a lot of girls involved in 4-H.

Walking through the barn was a bit like entering a girls high school – each animal had a decorated poster – LOTS of pics of girls with their pets, cutesy doodles, colorful graphics and writing. Occasionally I’d see a boy or two here or there, but it seemed like girls dominate 4-H, at least those who choose to display animals at the fair. We did see some boys in the archery display. I don’t know if the majority of girls in Animal Sciences is indicative of anything: where are the boys? Are Animal Sciences mostly appealing to girls?

10. 4-H has projects in aerospace, computer, photography, clowning, government….

..I thought it was just about “animal science” – much more variety than I imagined (well, maybe those last two are the same….) I am thinking perhaps about entering the girls in a 4-H project sometime…

11. New vocab words: such as “equitation” and “cavies”

Not sure when I’ll use them again, but it’s always helpful to know another word for “guinea pig”

12. Bracket ferns are poisonous for horses and tiger lilies are for cats.

Not that we are in any danger at our home – since we don’t have a horse or a cat – but it was interesting information – I did read the posters in the barns above our heads: creative and educational, crafted by the kids.

13.. Fairs can cost a pretty penny

Our total cost for the day $24.50 but this includes one bubble wand ($2.50), along with parking ($3), entrance fee ($7), pony rides ($10) and water ($2). Grandma treated us to lunch, and the only person who had to pay to enter was me – the kids were all free. Probably cheaper than Puyallup and other fairs.
But it was worth it – hey, I paid less than $2 a thing to learn thirteen things! :)

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