At the Hardin County Com­munity Fair & Horse Show on Wed­nesday night, Gun­ner Pat­ton, 2, got to go on kiddie carnival rides and take a ride on a monster truck with his mother, Sarah. But, Gunner’s day at the fair couldn’t have been complete without a visit to the All American Petting Zoo.

Gunner helped his mother feed various animals at the petting zoo.

“Do you like the goats the best?” Sarah asked her son as he placed his hand on a baby goat’s head.

Gunner was one of many fair attendees who have ventured through the 40-by-50-foot petting zoo tent this week. The petting zoo has been a part of the fair every day since it opened Monday and will continue until its last day on Saturday. The petting zoo opens at 5:30 p.m. each day.

Admission to the petting zoo is free and cups of food pellets for the animals are available for purchase.

The attraction includes typical farm animals, such as cows, goats and pigs, along with more exotic animals, such as the Afri­can crested porcupine, South American coati, Pata­gonian cavy and military macaw. Some farm animals at the petting zoo that may turn some heads include the Scottish Highland cow, the water buffalo, llama and Sicilian donkey.

This is the All Am­er­ican Petting Zoo’s third year operating at the fair. Owner Charles Bean said he has enjoyed working with former fair board president and current board member Larry Jaggers in bringing the attraction to Hardin County.

“Larry Jaggers has been a really good friend to me,” he said.

The All American Pett­ing Zoo is based out of South Carolina and sets up at fairs and other events throughout Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, Flo­rida and in its home state. Bean said the business has been in operation for about two decades.

“People love it,” he said. “We stay packed the whole time we’re open.”

Bean said he always looks forward to fair season so he can see attendees enjoy the attraction.

“I just like interacting with the families and the children, telling them about things and meeting other farmers,” he said.

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1746 or acritchelow@thenewsenterprise.com.

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