Attend The Fair This Weekend

FOCUS ON PETS

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My three dogs and I just spent the weekend at the Coconino County Fair. Higgins and I were asked to do Canine Musical Freestyle demonstrations throughout the weekend. My remaining highway rescue puppy also did freestyle demonstrations and won the hearts of many.

One family particularly loved her and she now has a wonderful home in Camp Verde on a grassy acre, which is totally fenced. Both of these pups found loving homes where they will be very much a part of the family. I am delighted.

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Gordy is not thrilled with the scrub-down but Lisa Rodriguez is hoping he will wow the judges. While Gordy longs to be home wallowing in his pigpen, Lisa, a 4-H'er, wants to have a shiny clean pig to take into the show ring.

We camped at the RV park right at the fairgrounds in Flagstaff. It was such fun to see and hear families having such a great time while experiencing a bit of country life.

A highlight for me always is seeing young people working with their animals.

In my youth, the highlight of the year was the Red River Valley Fair, at which my friends and I spent as much time as our parents would allow hanging out in the barns with our horses and brushing them to a mirror finish. One year, I showed my Dakota KoKo at the Minnesota State Fair. What an amazing experience.

The Northern Gila County Fair is this weekend, Sept. 8 through 10 in Payson.

No matter what hobby you might have, there will be something of interest for you at the fair.

Fairs are a part of our history and our heritage. Since the mid-1800s, farm families have been entering their crafts, produce, livestock, hobbies and recipes in the local fair. Michael Judge said, in an article in the Wall Street Journal, that "the fair is a place where parents and children can come and compete, meet other families and reap the rewards of years of hard work.

It is a way of life and a work ethic that is handed down from generation to generation, a respect for the land and the animals and crops raised on it."

Fairs provide the opportunity for 4-H and FFA youngsters to show off their accomplishments in areas ranging from agriculture to public speaking.

In a Letter to the Editor, also in the Wall Street Journal, James Tucker added these comments:

"Fairs are more crucial to the well-being of their communities than ever before. They provide the opportunity for people to gather together and share the kinds of moments that remind us why community and family are what matter the most. Fairs are about the real world -- where our food comes from, how to improve it, what it takes to sustain a planet's nutritional needs."

Tragically, today only 2 percent of families are involved in farming. But many young people are clinging to the dream of raising that champion pig or a prize-winning steer.

Kids can be seen scrubbing every last bit of dirt from their pigs' ears and then trying to keep them clean while waiting to enter the ring.

Horses are a big part of 4-H and FFA. These kids compete to earn enough points to enter regional and state competitions. They can show their horses both under saddle and at halter.

Complete information about the fair is in this week's Rim Review, which can be found throughout the area and is free. The 4-H Horse show was today. The open horse show begins at 10 a.m. Saturday where you can see classes in English and Western horsemanship as well as halter, trail riding and harness classes.

The dog show is Sunday near the Tonto Apache Tribe Gym. Registration is at 1 p.m. and the show begins at 2 p.m.

Bring your dog and show what you can do or come and watch. There will be a series of stations at which a dog will be given a specific task to perform. This is based on a new dog event, Rally, which is a combination of obedience, agility, musical freestyle and fun.

Handlers and dogs of all ages will show their skills. Come cheer them on.

Mr. Tucker continues, "If your local fair needs money, become a volunteer and figure out how to raise it.

The vast majority of the activities at fairs are made possible by untold hours of volunteer labor.

Join a fair board and brainstorm ways to attract more visitors. After all, a fair is a community showing the world what it's made of."

By all means, go to the fair. Wander around and see handmade quilts, wonderful photography, tomatoes, pumpkins and banana bread as well as children showing rabbits, chickens, pigs, goats, horses, cows, sheep, dogs and more.

Let's keep the fair a vital part of our community. Payson, Pine and Strawberry need it.

We need it.

The kids need it.

-- Christy Powers can be reached by phone or fax at (928) 476-2239 or by e-mail at cpwrather@earthlink.net.

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