The 2022 Berkeley County Youth Fair will conclude Saturday, and I would like to reflect on it. First, I want to say thank you to the Berkeley County Youth Fair Board and all the volunteers who put in many hours of hard work to make the 2022 fair a big success. The fair is a year-round effort for the Berkeley County Youth Fair Board and its members and volunteers.
A special thank you goes out to Dawn Pingley, the Fair Board president, for all her efforts to make sure the fair was a success. I saw Dawn at the fairgrounds at many different times before, during and after the fair. Be sure to say thank you to Dawn and her family from ella for all of their support and efforts from ella on behalf of the Berkeley County Youth Fair.
This year, we celebrated the 75th Annual Berkeley County Youth Fair, and the youth of Berkeley County represented us well. Congratulations go out to all the youth who participated and especially to the youth who had animals at the fair for the week. In my book, you all deserve blue ribbons for your efforts in raising animals and having them at the fair.
This year, the fair’s theme is “The Berkeley County Youth Fair Celebrating 75 Years of Timeless Traditions.” We welcomed the Miss Berkeley County Youth Fair 2022 Peyton Dugan. Peyton is a member of the Scrabble Scramblers 4-H Club and Spring Mills FFA. Congratulations, Peyton; have a wonderful year! Thanks for helping me with Livestock Jeopardy on Tuesday evening. Kudos to Cindy Raines, the BCYF poultry chairperson, who helped emcee Livestock Jeopardy. We had four teams of four youth participate in our contest. Thank you to Jeff Ryman our sound person and all-around helper. Thank you to all who helped.
This year, I also want to thank the Berkeley-Jefferson Extension Master Gardners, who helped make applesauce spice ornaments and helped with our activities in the Commercial Exhibit area Thursday evening.
What the typical fairgoer does not see is what happens behind the scenes. On show day, the species being shown is given priority at the wash rack. When you have 50 plus cattle, sheep or goats being shown starting at 8 am, you need to get an early start washing. Some of the youth were there by 3 am to feed, water, wash and put the finishing touches on animals. This doesn’t count everything done to get the animals to the fair to begin with. It takes a lot of planning and they learn time management, goal setting, responsibility and decision making skills in the process (to name just a few).
First, youth need to decide what animal they want to show earlier in the year when they start by getting project books. Take beef animals for an example. Once it’s decided to take a beef project, they have to decide whether they want to take a Beef Heifer/Cow, Feeder Calf or Market steer project or a combination. If they pick a Market Steer, they must purchase the animal by Dec. 5, 2020 and then check in for the Market Steer was Dec. 5, 2020 for the 2021 fair and then feed it to weigh at least 950 pounds by fair check in order to be eligible to sell the animal at the fair. This requires calculating rations (feed) to make sure the animal will weigh the right amount and be properly finished by show time and make the minimum weight to sell at our fair.
Youth who participate in livestock projects learn how to identify beef breeds, parts of the animals and the ideal confirmation of the animals in order to help them make their selections, as well as sportsmanship and many life skills taking care of their animals.
Breeding stock (females of the various beef breeds. We do not show bulls at the Youth Fair) needed to be owned and preregistered by June 15, 2022. Breeding stock is shown by class according to the animal’s age. The feeder calf needed to be preregistered by June 15 and broken to halter and have been grass fed prior to show and weigh between 350-650 pounds. (Hopefully, the feeder calf at this year’s fair will come back next year as a Market Steer.)
Once the animal is acquired, they need to take care of it by providing it with clean, fresh water at all times, feed it to meet the animal’s requirements, check it to make sure it is healthy, give preventative treatments for external parasites, clean and brush the animal, give them exercise and train them to lead.
Closer to fair time, you need to groom the animal for the show. This includes clipping the hair and trimming feet. One of the best ways to learn how to properly groom an animal is to watch what other people do to prepare their animals for show.
Once the animal is ready for the day of the show, it should be washed early in the day so that it is dry by show time. The animal should be fitted and ready for the show.
Raising any animal to be shown at the fair takes a lot of effort. Unfortunately, there is only one Grand Champion Market Steer, Goat, Hog and Lamb at the Berkeley County Youth Fair that is based on the individual judge’s decision on the day of the show.
I enjoy working with the youth of Berkeley County and giving time and effort to help make the Berkeley County Youth Fair what it is. The Berkeley County Youth Fair is a showcase for our youth to demonstrate what they learned by working on their projects throughout the year. The fair is the culmination of the year’s activities, and the youth are all winners who share a small part of it with us.
I salute all of the individuals who volunteer their time, whether it be parking cars, working the gates, checking in exhibits, judging exhibits, carrying ribbons and awards, preparing and serving food, painting, building pens, moving tables and chairs, etc. , and the most important part of the fair, our young people. For one week in August, we all come together to share, to learn, to compete, to enjoy and work together for the good of our young people.
If you haven’t come out of the fair, you are missing a lot. There are various farm animals in the different barns as well as some new fair babies in the various barns from time to time. There is good fair food and commercial exhibit to visit. There is a lot to see and do at the 2022 Berkeley County Youth Fair. Thank you to the Berkeley County Youth Fair for expanding the wash rack for our livestock, refencing the horse arena and adding the selfie places around the fair. We do notice the changes.
The Berkeley County Youth Fair has a rich history and traditions that go back 75 years with many memories. We do it for the youth. Here’s hoping for another 75 years and many more of history and traditions that we can long remember. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the Berkeley County Youth Fair for the last 29 years. A special thank you to all the people who volunteer hours of service to make the Berkeley County Youth Fair a great fair!
We’ll be holding the celebrity milking contest at the fair at 5 pm on Friday.
The Berkeley County Youth Fair Market Livestock will be holding their Livestock Auction beginning at 6:30 pm on Friday. Sale order is lambs, goats, steers and hogs. Come out and support the youth of Berkeley County who have worked hard to get their animals ready and show at the 2022 Berkeley County Youth Fair.
Until next time…Happy Gardening, Summer, and Farming!
Mary Beth Bennett, Ph.D. is a WVU Extension agent and associate professor. She can be reached at 264-1936, MBBennett@mail.wvu.edu or on the web at http://extension.wvu.edu/berkeley
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Mary Beth Bennett
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