Old McDonald takes his barn to Canfield Fair

Tribune Chronicle / Wendy Wolfgang Bill Gilmore of Howland, an educator and naturalist for Mill Creek MetroParks, holds a baby goat, also known as a kid, so children can pet him at the Old McDonald’s Barn at the Canfield Fair. The barn is run by Mill Creek MetroParks, which usually has the featured animals at its experimental farm on Columbiana-Canfield Road.

CANFIELD — Llamas and turkeys and rabbits. Oh my…

It seemed like that’s what the wide-eyed children were thinking as they followed the little dirt path at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Old McDonald’s Barn at the Canfield Fair earlier this week.

Bill Gilmore, an educator / naturalist for Mill Creek MetroParks, brings about 30 animals to the fair each year.

“I help the kids pet the animals, then ensure that the kids have fun with them,” he said.

Gilmore, of Howland, brought the animals from the MetroParks Experimental Farm on Colum-biana-Canfield Road. People also can visit them there when it is not fair time.

The staff at the barn said they do their best to take care of the animals and their well-being is their highest concern. Staff is scheduled daily at 7 a.m. to begin feeding the animals.

This year, sheep, donkeys, geese, ducks, a rooster, chickens, rabbits, goats, a Holstein calf, a llama, an alpaca and several different species of birds were featured. Gilmore also had a pot-bellied pig in tow.

“We call him Peter Porker,” he joked, referring to Spider-Man’s alter ego, Peter Parker.

And Gilmore held a kid — a baby goat — so a different kind of kid could pet him.

“It’s a ball here,” he said about the fair. “We’ll have wall-to-wall people on the weekend.”

Gilmore, who has worked for the MetroParks for two years, served as a biology teacher for 36 years at Southeast High School in Portage County.

In addition to the farm, Mill Creek MetroParks features many other animals and locations to see them. They include Mill Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, with more than 200 documented bird species, along with deer and muskrats; Newport Wetlands attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and beavers; Mill Creek Preserve is 44 acres of birds, dragonflies, butterflies and giant crayfish; Vickers Nature Preserve has ducks, herons, river otters and an equestrian facility; and McGuffey Wildlife Preserve has wild turkeys, woodpeckers, hawks, deer and coyotes.

Old McDonald’s Farm at the Canfield Fair is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. today, Sunday and Monday.

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