Fair formalities

BAZETTA – Opening day at the Trumbull County fair had its fill of humidity, ceremony and festivity as locals and officials bustled about the grounds.

The evening started off with the Parade of Colors featuring various 4-H clubs marching past the Junior Fair Board office to the Historical Stage. Several groups turned out to walk together before the Opening Ceremony and animal competitions began.

Rebecca Currington, 16, this year’s 4-H queen, said the sun was glaring in her eyes as she traveled down the parade lane, but that it was fun nonetheless, especially since she said she didn’t expect to be crowned with the royalty title on Monday evening.

“You basically support the 4-Hers,” she said of her new position. “I go to shows and represent the Fair Board.”

Two 4-H members who were absent from the procession were sisters Emily Smallsreed, 18, and Julie Smallsreed, 14, both of LaBrae. They were too busy hosing down their cows at a wash station near the barns.

“We brought them in at 4 p.m. today and we’re finally finishing cleaning them,” Julie said around 6 p.m.

The girls have grown up taking care of cows at Klingendale Farms in Leavittsburg and are members of Cows R Us, a countywide 4-H club. Cleaning off the cows is one of the last steps in preparing them for show over the next few days.

“We begin in May and April. We start walking them to get them accustomed to being walked and around people,” Julie said.

She said her favorite time at the fair are show days, when she gets to exhibit all of her knowledge and her animals. She’s hoping for a good week of competition as the girls have put extra love into getting their cows ready.

“(Other farmers) don’t baby them like we do,” she said.

Jim Fazier, 71, is well acquainted with the care that goes into the upkeep of the animals at the fair. He is a former 4-H adviser, a retired cattle farmer and Warren City Schools teacher. Near the cattle barns, he explained what makes the fair so important for the general public to see.

“People really care about their animals because when they do, you get a financial reward for it. Nobody wants to abuse their animals,” he said.

Fazier said the combination of humane treatment and understanding the purpose the animals serve in the food industry is on full display at the fair.

Of course, there will be plenty of opportunities for the 4-H members and open class competitors to strut their stuff throughout the week as the fair runs until Sunday.