Diary of a Transplant: Greene County Fair Prep

  |  July 12, 2012

Ever since we moved to Greene County we have heard the same question, over and over: “Are you doing the fair?” Followed by: “You have to do the fair.” In turn, often followed by: “The fair is soooo awesome.”

Greene County families love their fair.

I can see why. Unlike some of the massive county or state fairs that contain acres of hot tub sale tents, followed by another acre of friendship bracelets and t-shirt booths before you can even get to the 4H kids and the local booths, the Greene County Youth Fair is small enough that it still seems like a little local event. It’s run entirely by volunteers, and it seems to have been created expressly for the purpose of giving the kids a healthy experience showing off their knowledge and skills, and proving their animal husbandry techniques.



In addition to the specific animal competitions they enter, kids are automatically judged on their herdsmanship: how well they keep their animals’ stalls over the course of the 4-day fair.

Children also enter their crafts and writings and garden produce and baked goods and everything else under the sun that they’ve created over the course of the year. And here’s the part that really hooked my kids. They get money for their blue ribbons. Cash money. If my kids weren’t already motivated to enter every contest they could — which they were– that got their attention.

Lots of families spend the entire four days in RV’s on the fairgrounds. We don’t have an RV, so we’re not doing this. But we’ll be there every day. Our goats will be there, so guess who’s going to be racing through Greenville over to Cairo every morning at 8 am to milk our doe? Us. And checking in all day every day to make sure bedding is clean, water is fresh, and hay is available? Us.

Between now and then it’s endless prep. The kids are entering the goats and the bunny rabbit, and endless paintings and sculptures and weavings and other creations. Megan and her friend spent yesterday morning ID’ing and pressing tree samples. Wildflower ID is up next. Knot-tying display if we have time. The doll board is done, and so is the bunny poster. The packs for the goats to wear in the Pack Goat class came in the wrong size and had to be exchanged. The kids are going over their animal diagrams and books to make sure they can answer all the judges’ questions.  We still have to tattoo the goats’ ears for proper identification and get the goat vet’s bill of health. And still waiting for the equine vet’s certificate of health to come in the mail.

Yes, the equine vet. Because, most excitingly of all, Megan is bringing her pony on Saturday, and will ride in her (and his!) first ever competition.

Here’s the competition we’re most looking forward to: Sit-A-Buck, in which kids ride bareback with a dollar bill tucked under their leg. The last kid with the dollar still in place wins. Megan, who goes over jumps bareback on her tiny pony Bugsy, has wanted to ride in this since she first heard about it. Now, finally, she is 8, and old enough.

Sunday is the Goat Obstacle Course, one of the sweetest, funniest things I’ve ever seen (and open to all kids — somebody will lend your kid a goat!). Here’s Megan doing it last year:

Can’t wait for the fair! Greene County Youth Fair,
Cairo, NY July 19-22.

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