August 4, 2001
They've got moo, babe
by John Christie
Durham The cock-a-doodle-doos of roosters and the moos of cows resounded Friday evening over the Durham fairgrounds, announcing the start of the Middlesex and New Haven County 4-H Fair and Livestock Show.
The fair started on time despite the onset of thunderstorms Friday evening.
The fair is an annual showcase for 4-H Club members throughout Middlesex and New Haven counties. At the yearly event, club members show off everything from their animal-raising abilities to their ham radio skills.
Youths scurried up and down the fairgrounds to get their animals and home crafts checked in before the judging deadlines.
"Everyone's a bit rushed," said Emily McCabe Alger, 4-H program director for Middlesex County, as she ran from barn to barn.
"We're getting all these members coming at once because the parents just got off of work," she said.
New Haven County 4-H Club member Katrina Easclutti waited in line to check in her large, tan rabbit for judging. It's the first time she was showing an animal of her own at the fair.
"I think he'll do well," the 11-year-old Cheshire resident said. "I want to learn how to do it, then maybe next year I'll be better at it."
Meanwhile, inside the main barn, fair superintendent of goats Ted Powell leaned against the pens, waiting impatiently for other club members to bring in their pigs and sheep.
"Most of what I'm doing this weekend is reminding visitors not to touch the goats, because there's no proven rabies vaccine," the 17-year-old Colchester resident said. "Well, actually there is a goat vaccine, it's just that Connecticut is the last state in the country not to officially recognize it."
Higganum resident Emily Holt, 12, sat on the goat pen and shook her head, then said she much preferred being a manager of small animals rather than a superintendent "because I don't want to have to sleep here."
Ted, who's been a 4-H member since he was 10, didn't seem to mind the long hours of goat-watching.
"I'm definitely going to continue to raise goats after 4-H," he said. "I'm just so attached to them. They've been such a big part of my life for so long."
Durham resident Elaine Lowe watched proudly as her daughter, 17-year-old Stacey Lowe, wrestled a white coat onto a large ram to keep him clean until the judging.
Lowe will be showing a sheep in the "Over the Clover" division for adult club volunteers and alumni, which the fair created to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
"My husband, Peter, will show the big guy," she said. "I'll have one small sheep."
Lowe said she was glad Stacey discovered 4-H "because Coginchaug High School didn't have anything for kids who like working with animals.
"Now Stacey's in Middletown (Vocational Agricultural) School and she loves it," Lowe added. "I'm just so proud of her."
The 4-H fair will continue today from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with an alumni dinner scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
On Sunday, the fair will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The fair also features refreshments, home crafts and other projects designed by 4-H club members.
Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors. Children under 12 are admitted free.
Reprinted with permission from The Middletown Press
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