Just as in years past, our family had a great time at the 2015 Thurston County Fair.
Of course, we ate too many deep-fried foods. And I personally think the kids spent too much money on carnival games so that they could continue on their mission to fill my entire house with plush toys. (They would disagree, though, saying there can never be too many stuffed penguins, starfish and other toy animals.)
And speaking of critters, we spent most of our time in the animal barns.
Our 14-year-old daughter especially enjoyed watching the 4H Western horse exhibitions. She takes weekly horse riding lessons and knew exactly what the riders and horses were supposed to be doing. She also enjoyed looking at the rabbits, and talked to the FFA participants about the commitment she’d need to make if she wanted to show her bunnies in the fair.
Personally, I loved watching the newly hatched chicks. One of them broke from its egg right in front of our eyes, and then walked around with shell stuck to him for several minutes. It’s so exciting to watch a new life.
Our boys loved the goats and sheep, but their favorites were the pigs. My husband called out “Bacon” as we walked by, and it turns out that’s a pretty popular comment by fairgoers.
Solena Wood, 16, an incoming junior at Yelm High School, said she heard “Bacon” over and over again as she sat with her pig, Gus, at the fair.
“I was like, ‘Don’t say that word in front of him,’” she said with a chuckle.
This was the first year Wood raised a pig as an FFA project for the fair’s Market Animal Sale.
“He sold for $8.25 a pound, which is pretty expensive bacon,” she said. “I’m pretty proud of how he did.”
Gus was a Yorkshire and Hampshire mix, and Wood had raised him since he was two months old. During the four months that she took care of him, he gained about 240 pounds.
“He got a blue ribbon in both showmanship and market, so he did really well,” Wood said.
Saying goodbye wasn’t easy because Wood became attached to him. Her dad passed away from stomach cancer last December. Raising Gus wasn’t necessarily therapeutic, but he was a nice distraction, she said.
“He was just super cool to have,” she said. “I loved that silly pig. I could call his name from across the yard — I’d go ‘Gus, Gus’ and he’d jump up and start running toward me.”
Wood spent about $475 caring for Gus, and brought home nearly $3,000 from the sale. She said she might buy a car with the earnings.
Wood said she plans to raise another pig for next year’s sale.
“I had a lot of fun at the fair and met some new people,” she said.
When we left the fair, we talked about how wonderful it would be to have a bigger piece of property so that our kids could raise horses, goats and maybe even pigs.
But for now, all of those stuffed animals will have to do.