Animals, chickens, quilts and cakes among local exhibits
It’s tough being a chicken or rabbit at the county fair. These often-skittish creatures have to stand sedately on a table — without being held — for 20 to 30 minutes in an unfamiliar barn bustling with other animals and people.
So it’s a testament to the painstaking socialization that kids in the Methow Valley Cascaders 4-H Club have put into the animals they’re showing at the Okanogan County Fair this weekend.
Layla Buzzard will be exhibiting her prized Himalayan rabbit, Nibbles, for the second time. Buzzard, age 12, has been raising rabbits for half her life. She started with Holland Lops but when she discovered the Himalayans — cute white bunnies with a black nose and ears — she was hooked. “They have the best temperament — they’re so sweet. They just want to cuddle and come up to you to pet them,” Buzzard said.
Although Buzzard socializes her bunnies by introducing them to everyone who comes to visit, she admits that coaxing the animals to remain calm on the show table takes a lot of practice. “You want the show table to be a fun spot — you want them to enjoy it,” she said. Fortunately, Nibbles loves the attention and knows he’ll get a treat when it’s over.
Kids in 4-H’s fur and feathers club have been meeting weekly to learn about their chickens and rabbits and practice showing them. “It’s so much fun — I love to see how the kids progress, from being intimidated at the first practice to how awesomely and confidently they answer questions at the last practice,” club leader Emily Buzzard said.
Zoe and Sam Kaltenbach have been raising seven chickens since April. They’re taking two roosters — a Buff Orpington and a Speckled Sussex — to the auction at the fair. “They’re really fun animals. I like feeding them — they crowd around me. They’re pretty cute,” Zoe said.
Zoe, age 12, and Sam, age 10, have spent months preparing those roosters to stand on the table without being held or freaking out. Zoe’s rooster, King Henry, is calm and doesn’t mind when Zoe displays his wings and tail for the judges. But Sam’s rooster, Maverick, “is kind of a crazy chicken. He tries to escape at least once every practice,” Zoe said.
The Methow will be well represented in fur and feathers this year, but dozens of other kids have been busy raising steers, pigs and sheep for the fair. Those raising steers started more than a year ago to bring the animals to 1,100 or 1,200 pounds.
4-H also sponsors cooking and sewing projects. About 10 kids baked cakes, made pizzas, and sewed quilts at 4-H camp this summer. Last week they created a series of barn quilts, brightly colored geometric patterns that are painted on panels, not sewn. The quilts decorate the sides of barns, said Suellen White, who leads the cooking and sewing activities.
Don’t miss the pickles, mammoth zucchini, and baked goods; arts and crafts and flowers; and educational displays. There will also be a carnival with rides and games of skill.