Today’s fair schedule
7:30 a.m. - Business Appreciation Breakfast/Chamber Coffee
7:30-9:30 a.m. - Check in open foods, open & 4-H horticulture, open & 4-H crops
9 a.m. - 4-H swine show
10 a.m. - Judging of open foods, open & 4-H horticulture, clothing and quilts, and open arts & crafts
11 a.m. - Judging of open photography and rocketry
1 p.m. - Judging of 4-H project display, notebooks and posters, photography, reading, home environment, self determined, wildlife, rocketry, energy management, entomology, geology and forestry, and open & 4-H crops
2 p.m. - Judging of open & 4-H woodworking, judging of open ag mechanical
2:30 p.m. - 4-H livestock judging
5-10 p.m. - Commercial exhibits open
6 p.m. - 4-H bucket calf show, dog agility, 4-H horse show, Wagner’s Carnival
6-8 p.m. - Free stage entertainment
8 p.m. - Christian concert: Kutless
The carnival, venders and quirky foods — everything from deep fried Oreos to “alligator on a stick” — are what come to mind for many who attend the Barton County Fair. Others come to hear their favorite genre of live music: Christian, Country or Classic Rock.
But by the time Wagner’s Carnival opens at 6 p.m., many people will have already put in a full day at the Barton County Fair. As the fair got underway Wednesday morning, 4-H and Open Class exhibits started to arrive.
Those bringing livestock stopped to check in with fair board member Kim Tutak. Trucks pulling trailers of cattle and pigs were the first to arrive. Tutak checked her list of animals that had passed an earlier inspection, and accepted copies of health certificates.
“Morning, Mrs. T,” a 4-H parent said. Tutak is a longtime volunteer; her son, now 34 years old, was in 4-H and she continues to raise show pigs.
“I like to do the health check because I get to see the kids,” she said.
Veterinarian William Niederee would arrive at 10 a.m. to personally inspect the goats and sheep.
“He’ll actually handle each of those animals as they come in,” Tutak said. “Anything that doesn’t pass his inspection won’t come to the fair.”
Safety is a primary concern. As Sam McGinnis (from the Sharpshooters 4-H club) and his dad stopped at the checkpoint with some pigs, and Tutak reminded them, “If he takes gilts home, they will need to be quarantined.” Gilts are young female pigs that have not yet had a litter. Older pigs and other livestock will go from the fair to buyers, after the premium sale on Sunday.
The buyer for Barton County Fair pigs is Ellinwood Packing, so there’s a good chance any pork chops sold there in the near future will have come from the fair, Tutak commented. Other floor buyers for the fair are Great Bend Feeding for steers, and Clinton Mong for goats and sheep.
With safety a foremost concern, there are no poultry entries at the fair this year. Many fairs have taken similar steps to protect the industry from avian flu. Instead, 4-Hers who would normally bring poultry are making an educational display.
After the safety check, the animals were delivered to Expo III. There was some excitement Wednesday morning as a steer broke free and ran toward open ground. The first helper to grab the animal’s lead ended up on the ground, prompting others to give chase from utility vehicles. Ten minutes later it was rounded up and headed toward the pens.
Other young ranchers were struggling to convince stubborn pigs to move from trailers to the pens.
“Don’t get in too big of a hurry the first day,” one of the adults advised them.
Baked goods and more
Expo II was also busy Wednesday morning. All exhibits, except perishables, needed to be checked in between 8 a.m. and noon. By 8:30 a.m., 4-H food entries were being judged.
Rynn Harmon, 7, from the Barton County Horse Club, entered a pan of brownies he made. He discussed what he’d learned with foods judge Jonea Hartshorn.
“Did you have to measure things?” Hartshorn asked. “Did you spray the pan?”
More experienced cooks, such as 12-year-old Aubrey Snapp from the Busy Buzzers 4-H Club, were asked tougher questions, and got some baking tips as well.
As the fair continues today, the commercial exhibits will be open from 5-10 p.m., the carnival will open at 6, and entertainment on the free stage will run from 6-8 p.m., followed by the Christian concert with band Kutless at 8. But long before 5 p.m., the livestock judging and exhibit judging will get underway, providing more opportunities for fairgoers to see what area kids – and creative adults – have been working on since last year’s fair.
If you miss that, you’ve missed half of the fair