A new event debuted Saturday night at the Hardin County Community Fair & Horse Show to help fairgoers learn more about farming.
Because there were no activities scheduled in the livestock barn that night, organizers decided to use the location to highlight agriculture. County fairs have their roots in agriculture.
“We decided to do something for the community and help educate them about agriculture and what we do for a living to produce food,” Kevin Mobley, organizer and fair board vice president, said.
Fellow organizer and fair board member Jayna Thompson has wanted to do an activity to focus on agriculture since joining the board. Part of her goal was to get FFA students more involved like they were when she was in high school.
She said the idea had been discussed for a couple of years and it was Mobley’s idea to invite organizations to set up booths with activities children could do and displays they could see so they can become more related with agriculture and farm life.
For Serenity Oller, 6, and Winnie Kaster, 3, the idea was working.
They were able to get up close and personal with a cow for the first time and giggled the entire time they were feeding it. They were amused at the cow’s large tongue as it ate.
For these girls, it was as fun as it was educational.
A variety of equipment displays and activity booths were set up in the barn.
Kentucky Farm Bureau had an old truck on display that they take across the state. Mobley said it illustrates the heritage of pickup trucks and where they’ve come from 1919 to today.
Mobley brought a tractor and planter to show visitors how crops were planted. A dairy trailer was on display that had a milking machine to show the process of milking a cow.
Cows and goats also were on display for people to see and interact with.
There were various booths and activities for children. One had a planting activity so kids could learn how things grow. Another had a wading pool filled with corn for children to play with.
At the 4-H booth, Zoey Sherlock, 13, learned about educational opportunities in agriculture with extension agent Stephanie Meredith.
Sherlock said the event was educational for those who didn’t know a lot about agriculture.
And, for children her age, it helped them see more about what they might want to do in a career. She has dreams of becoming a veterinarian.
Farmers also were available at the exhibit for visitors to talk to and ask questions about agriculture.
“That’s what this is all about, we want people to know where their food comes from,” Mobley said. “We want them to meet a farmer.”
He said if the community has questions about agriculture, farmers want them to ask.
Safety also was a part of the exhibit. A traveling rollover tractor display was on site to show the value of a rollover protection system, Mobley said. The display rotates to illustrate the risks.
But there also was a bit of fun. In the center of the barn was the oversized bingo pad that would later be the spot for the fair’s annual cow patty bingo.
Tickets were sold for a chance to win $250. If the cow “does it’s business,” as Mobley put it, on your ticket number you win.
Sometimes the winner was discovered in 10 minutes, sometimes two hours.
“You never quite know,” he joked.
Organizers were pleased with interest in the inaugural Ag Experience event at the fair.
“We started out small and hopefully it’s something that can grow through the years,” Thompson said. “So far it seems to be doing extremely well.” In less than an hour they already had more than 75 visitors come through the displays.
“I think it’s going to be a hit and something we will continue to do in the future,” she said.