The show must go on.
In February, a month after the annual Fauquier County fair was cancelled, the Fair Board approached the Fauquier County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension about organizing a competitive agricultural event. The contest would provide a venue for 4-H Club members and others to show the animals they have raised.
Through efforts of the Extension Office’s Sarah Bullard, Tim Mize, Tim Ohlwiler and Lenah Nguyen, plus more than 20 volunteers, the Fauquier Agriculture Expo was held from July 11 to 13 at the Fauquier County Fairgrounds just south of Warrenton.
Bullard was pleased at the large number of exhibitors, who showed 236 cattle, goats, sheep, rabbits and birds. Creative folks entered jams, baked goods, photographs, flower arrangements and other crafts for judging.
Typically, participants showed their own animals. But in one event, a round robin, each contestant got to show one animal of each species, none of which is his (or hers). Bullard explained that it tests the adaptability of the participants. She said that more competitors choose to take part in the round robin than in recent years.
Several kids finished the round robin with a desire to work with different animals. Eleven-year-old Aaron Locke from Midland, for instance. Aaron shows cows, but now he wants to raise sheep.
“Sheep are easier to show than cows with heavy heads,” said Aaron. And, sheep are easier to clip. Exhibitors clip animals’ hair to present a smooth coat.
Fans whirred throughout two open-air buildings to give animals and humans relief from the sweat-inducing heat. Becky Mullins, a co-leader of the Fauquier Agriculture Club, watched two contestants find a fun solution. Noah Nye, 14, and Rowan Matula, 17, were hosing down their cows. Suddenly, they turned the spray on each other. A water fight was on.
The Fauquier County Board of Supervisors funded most of the approximately $8,000 needed to produce the event., said Bullard. There were also a few private donors.