For months, children and grown-ups alike have been raising fresh fruits, vegetables and livestock in the hope of coming home with a ribbon from the Daviess County Lions Club Fair. Fair officials estimate they will have 200 to 300 entries across all competition divisions and categories this year.
“Kids throughout the whole community weigh in their fruits and vegetables,” said Fair Board Secretary Joan Hayden. “That’s your original beginnings of the county fair — that’s where it started.”
Daviess County youth have the option to enter the 4-H and Future Farmer of America divisions or the open division, which is also available for adults.
Competitors can enter vegetables, fruits, floral arrangements, canned food, crafts, woodworking items, livestock, decorated cakes and more for the chance of a ribbon and cash prize.
Entries were accepted from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday evening and judged through the Daviess County Extension Office. According to Hayden, when the fair gates open Wednesday at 4 p.m., the entries will already have their winning ribbons on display in the east end exhibit building.
“There are pickup trucks pulling in everywhere — filled with beans, corn and peppers — things they’ve grown themselves and want to enter in the fair,” Hayden said. “They don’t make a lot of money at it, but they get ribbons.”
This is the 19th year for the 4H/FFA Feeder Calf Program and Show. Hayden said there are anywhere from 50-60 calves raised by children in the community who receive a loan through the Farm Service Agency to buy a calf.
“The kids draw a number for a calf that’s already been vaccinated,” Hayden said. “They keep it and raise it through the summer and keep a record book. They get ‘extra points’ for showing it at the fair and then they sell the calf at the Kentuckiana Livestock Market.”
Eleven-year-old Nathan Wathen entered the fair for the first time this year with a cattle feeding trough that he built and welded himself.
“I built it because we were wasting so much hay,” Wathen said. “I wanted something to catch it.”
So, with some scrap metal from a family friend’s machine shop and a little help with the circular and table saws from his dad, Wathen set out to build a solution to his problem.
Originally built for just his own cows, Nathan decided to enter his feed trough in the fair competition with the encouragement of Daviess County Extension Office Program Assistant Angie Padgett.
“I’m really proud of him,” Padgett said. “This was going beyond his comfort zone.”
Padgett first met Wathen at Daviess County Middle School during 4-H outreach programming. Nathan has previously worked on the program’s feeder calf project and participated in archery. Given the extensive welding Nathan completed in his feeding trough project, Padgett said he has a bright future in the FFA fair division’s welding category in the future.
Padgett said it’s not often that the fair sees larger entries like Wathen’s, but this year has been unique.
“We had a 15-year-old girl enter a picnic table she built,” she said. “It’s just a stellar year on large entries.”
Wathen hopes the public will stop by the fair and see his feeding trough in the 4-H wood science category.
“I hope it wins,” he said. “Either way though, I’m proud of it and I’m going to use it as a feeder.”