Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fun at the 4-H Youth Fair

Rabbits, chickens, horses, cows, goats, llamas and pigs join still exhibits and farm culture at the Washtenaw County Farm Council Grounds near Saline, where the 4-H Youth Fair is in full swing. The fair continues through Friday and culminates with the Sweepstakes Showmanship at 7 p.m. Don't miss the chicken barbecue earlier in the afternoon, from 3:30 to 6 p.m. If you're looking for entertainment, the animal decorator contest and Ag Olympics look interesting.

I spent about an hour on Thursday wandering around the grounds, talking to 4-H exhibitors, checking out the animals and admiring the still exhibits. It was challenging finding kids from Saline and Milan, our coverage area, to interview on video because the event attracts 4-H youth from across Washtenaw County. I did meet Marta Swenson, a 15-year-old sophomore-to-be at Saline High School, who was competing in riding events with her horse, Roman. You can view her video on our Web site.

I also had an opportunity to chat with Sarah Blovits, a soon-to-be senior at Saline High School, who was in the goat tent with her animals. She shows goats and llamas and was featured by staff intern Krystle Dunham in a story July 19 about Nature's Wonders, the 4-H club her family runs. In her video, she talks about the challenges and rewards of 4-H.

Although the cows snuggling their calves were cute and the fuzzy llamas, it was the rabbit exhibits that I couldn't help admiring for most of my time there. I have two rabbits at home who are litter-box trained and share my three-bedroom home in Pittsfield Township. Puddin' is a store-bought bunny that looks like a Rex breed and Oompa is a mixed-breed rabbit I got in Chelsea from a friend and freelance writer for the paper when I worked there. Both have very distinct personalities and an addiction to yogurt drops. Puddin' will stand on her hind legs and beg for them and Oompa will growl if you tempt her with them for more than a few seconds. While I'd love to have dozens of rabbits, I can barely keep up with the two I have and all the chores associated with cleaning up after them.

The 4-H Youth Fair is a great opportunity for city folks to learn about farm life, as it features educational and still exhibits and animals, as well as a place to showcase area youth, who shine as they share their knowledge, talent and all the hard work they put into their animals and projects.

If you pay a visit, make sure to check out the Saline 4-H Farmers exhibit. It features woodworking, baked goods, photography, basket-weaving projects, art and other creations by Saline kids. In particular, I liked the cake decorated as a tractor by Amy Jedele of Saline. It looked tasty and I was very tempted to stick my finger in the frosting and eat a mouthful. But I didn't and if for some reason it looks as if someone did, it wasn't me. I swear.

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