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SWEET and FURRY: Barton County Fair events include foods, livestock judging
barton fair 2019 baked goods
Melody Braddy, age 10, from the Hoisington Jets 4-H Club prepares cookies for the sale table following food judging, Wednesday at the Barton County Fair. - photo by Susan Thacker

Barnyard sounds emerged from Expo III on Wednesday as exhibitors checked in cattle, chickens and other livestock. Over at Expo II, foods and other entries began to arrive.

In the afternoon, as the 4-H Rabbit Show was about to get underway, Hailey Hicks from the Great Bend City Slickers could be seen touching up the fur of a Netherland dwarf rabbit while 7-year-old Amber Ochs — also a member of the GB City Slickers — practiced showing a Holland lop to a judge.

The Ochs family was well represented Wednesday. Amber's sisters Analeah, 12, and Jordan, who is “almost 11,” each held a rabbit as they waited for judging to get underway. A few minutes later, Analeah sat in a four-wheeler talking to her grandfather, longtime Barton County Fair Board member Frank Ochs.

“We’ve been in it for the long haul,” Frank Ochs said of this three-generation 4-H family. He’s helped with the Barton County going back to when it was strictly a 4-H fair located on the 4-H grounds between Great Bend and Hoisington. Hard to believe this is the 28th year that the fair has been at the Expo Complex west of Great Bend and has included open class events, not to mention a carnival.

Analeah Ochs said the family is still involved in 4-H — and not just rabbit showing.

“Poultry, goats and swine,” she said, listing some of her fair entries. “We do a lot of arts and crafts; we do a lot of baking.”

Even though it’s meant to be educational for the youth, Frank Ochs said he’s also learned about showing rabbits from his granddaughters.

“I didn’t know there was so much to it,” he said.

Over at Expo II, 4-H foods judging was done and two girls from the Hoisington Jets 4-H Club, Kaisha Woydziak, 8, and Melody Braddy, 10, were helping place cookies, pies and other items on a sale rack. 

The Ochs sisters also have a cousin from Lakin attending the fair and she’ll have entries in the open class division. It’s not too late for others to get in on the act. Open class foods can be checked in from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Thursday, along with open and 4-H horticulture (gardening and flowers), and open and 4-H crops.

There are also commercial exhibits, entertainment and competitions. The fair continues through Sunday, unless you show up Monday for the tear-down and cleanup. All volunteers are welcome.