You are invited to drink a cold one at the Schuylkill County Fair on Thursday, July 30th…a tall, cold glass of milk! The day starts early for the 4-H/FFA dairy exhibitors as many will rise around 5AM to start the process of preparing their dairy animal for exhibit. Special care will be taken to see that the animals are cleaned and groomed to perfection. The show will start at 9AM with a showmanship class where 4-H/FFA exhibitors compete for top honors in their ability to display their animal to the judge. This will be followed by a long day of exhibiting various breeds of cows in classes divided by the age of the cow. The dairy show is sponsored by Hometown Farmers Market.
Stroll through the shade of the trees at the fairgrounds to the James S. Shadle Nature Center. Enjoy a change of pace during a busy Fair day. Inside the Nature Center view many of the new exhibits featuring plants, animals, geology and natural history of the area. Speak with Porcupine Pat about the latest environmental issues and their impact on the area. The Nature Center will be set up with a number of interactive nature learning stations. Some of the stations include a tree rolled out of newspaper and watch it sprout branches. Understand the circles of the earth through making an earth bracelet. People move in circles. The earth provides us with everything we need to survive. We must take great care of our valuable resources. Edible
Soil activity addresses the elements of soil. Sun Visor helps you keep the sun out of your eyes and address the value of the sun. The Air Pressure Station shows the presence of air. And “Water Cycle Bracelet” stations how the earth rehydrates itself. These nature center stations are a great way to understand why we need to keep a close watch and provide a helping hand with our environment.
The Ag Museum at the Fair has a number of attractions to interest the whole family. In its 20th year, the Schuylkill County Agricultural Museum’s mission is to preserve the history of local agriculture through many diverse means. The museum offers self-guided tours, exhibits operating antique farm machinery, equipment, engines, woodworking tools, a sawmill and household appliances. A chalk board at the Ag Museum welcome area lists the schedule of the day’s events. Sure to be listed is a small agricultural equipment operation demonstration with the hit and miss engines. Speaking of demonstrations there are the milling of wood in the saw mill area. Also outside the Ag Museum and listed on the chalk board is Todd Gladfelter using his chain saw to carve wood into intricate designs. Todd is a blacksmith artist, chainsaw carver, woodworker, cabinetmaker, man of the earth and his work can be seen on line at www.redmountainarts.com. You can see Todd in action daily at 5:30.
Not to be missed and listed daily on the chalk board is the Bessemer hit-n-miss engine. A working piece of history, this engine was used on to provide energy to factories in 1800 and early 1900. Inclusive with the engines and tractors are the People Choice Awards where the public may vote on their favorite tractor.
“Farming for A Day” is back and bigger than ever under a larger tent for this year’s 2015 Schuylkill County Fair. The Farming for the Day has added several new activity stations. In the tent this year there are stations where young and old alike can make a living necklace to wear proudly. While creating a living necklace, add some more jewelry to your collection by creating pasta jewelry. Adding to these two stations is the corn grinding station. Here, using more muscle, children may grind corn into cornmeal and wheat into flour. View the drone bees in action making honey in the hive and try to pick out the queen bee. Back again at one of the activity stations children are able to squeeze a pail of sweet creamy milk. This is from the model milking cow presented by the Dunn Family in memory of Robert “Bobby” Dunn. Learning by doing at this activity station enable children to learn how much work is involved with milking dairy cows two – three times a day and that chocolate milk does not come from brown cows. Bobby Dunn, through his “heart of a kid” and patience as an ambassador of agriculture, would have like children to learn that it takes a lot of work to produce that cold refreshing glass of milk. From the milking station, kids can churn butter from sweet cream donated by Guers Dairy. Cluck like a chicken when you make a chicken clunker out of a plastic cup and string. Grow some hair on a head with the soil Sam (chia-pet). Go buggy when making the flying grasshopper. Play a game of corn bag toss.