» posted on Friday, September 30th, 2016 by Linda Burton
The Animal Fair
Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – I went to the animal fair. The birds and the beasts were there. Also the hand-sewn quilts and home-canned preserves and commercial funnel cakes and merry go rounds brought in for the week and traveling hawkers enticing you to try it all. Nothing more exciting than a county fair in September! Yet despite the allure of fried goods and haunted houses and the attraction of the more peaceful Arts and Crafts Building my favorite thing is and always has been the animal barns. I mean, sheer happiness! You can’t walk past those bunny cages without twitching your own cute nose, bunny like. And what looks happier than a pig stretched out belly up, totally content to be fat. Then there are the smiling young folks, with heifers they have raised from Day 1, and brought to show. Dedicated young folks; I’m talking about the FFA. From their website I learned there are 629,327 student members of the Future Farmers of America aged 12-21 in 7,757 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Wow! And interestingly, while 73% live in rural and farm areas, 27% live in urban and suburban areas. The focus is “leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education.” More information from the FFA website:
- FFA classroom activities include math and science as well as hands-on work experience and the development of life skills.
- FFA members earn more than $4 billion annually through their hands-on work experience, learning advanced career skills in 49 national proficiency areas ranging from agricultural communications and food science and technology to turf grass management and wildlife production and management.
- FFA members are challenged to real-life, hands-on tests of skills used to prepare them for more than 200 careers in agriculture.
Learn more about the Future Farmers of America at www.ffa.org Kudos to all the young folks involved in FFA, eager to learn and proud to show off their skills and successes. Now I will do a little bragging about myself from this year’s Clark County Fair. I too did a little showing off, and a little winning.
A photography contest for pets! No, I could not resist. How many photos do I have of my cats? Alex and Jack live on in memory and in thousands of pixels, PLUS I have a brand new kitty, just come to live with me. I named her Katy, she is solid white with blue eyes, and weighed 1.5 pounds when I retrieved her from under a bush by an office building. She was abandoned by her mother, I was told; she hid under thick branches and peeped out only when they set out food for her. I took her straight to the vet; we got rid of the fleas and started her health care immediately. She has grown six inches in length and tripled her weight since that day, but I share her original photo, taken the first day I brought her home. I entered her photo in the contest, as well as old photos of Alex and Jack. Jack’s famous “One White Whisker” photo already used on this site won a Second Place ribbon in the “Coolest Cat” category. And the photo I took of Grandson Justin and new-in-the-household Alex Cat getting acquainted in 1998 won a Third Place ribbon in the “Pet and Child” category. Katy’s photo didn’t win a prize, but I got to “show her off” to hundreds of people (as proud as those FFA young folks showing off their show-worthy goats).
Here are a few other favorite scenes from the Clark County Fair, held every year in September; a real “community party” in the very best sense of the word. The County Fair gives us a chance to share our own accomplishments and to “ooh and ahh” over what other folks are doing. And to indulge in a hot fried funnel cake. Once a year is okay.