Each year, more than 3,200 agricultural fairs are held around the country. The Clinton County Fair has been offering summer fun and a glimpse of agriculture for local residents for more than seven decades. The 71st annual Clinton County Fair recently wrapped up and Miner Institute was well represented.
In the open show dairy barn, Miner Institute had four milking cows and five young animals. We also had two young heifers in the 4H barn that were shown by Alexis Seymour. Students train their animals and break them in to a halter; then clip, wash and care for their animals at the fair.
Eight Miner Morgans made their way to the Morrisonville fairgrounds. They showed in the Morgan In-Hand class and a yearling and two-year-old halter class. They were on the fairgrounds for four days for visitors to see and learn about the Morgan breed. An extra stall was set up with a great display of the equine program at Miner Institute and even included a photo booth! The students did a great job keeping the space clean and the horses cool and comfortable.
Additionally, a handful of Miner Institute employees take vacation time during fair week so that they can represent their own family farms and/or cheer on their children who show at the fair. There also is a "friendly" annual burger competition. This year entries included burgers with meat from the Emerichs, Gauthiers, Castines, and pork from the Dann/Perkins family. The judges were three Clinton County sheriff deputies.
Dorado Jerseys and Angus – The Emerich family
Wanda Emerich has been showing at the fair since 1983. She brought five Jersey cows from her family’s Dorado Jerseys and Angus farm to the Clinton County Fair and they competed in the Open Dairy Show. The Emerich’s animals are located adjacent to Miner Institute’s animals. Back on the farm in Mooers, Wanda and her husband, Jerry and daughter, Katarina, have Black Angus, an assortment of chickens, cats, African geese, and a dog. Wanda said that she really enjoys interacting with the numerous families who have also been showing at the fair over the years. “We have watched each other’s kids grow up and tell stories about show cows and heifers over time. People work together to prepare the animals for the show, then compete together in the ring and celebrate with each other after the show has ended.”
Mineral Spring Farm – The Gauthier family
Heather Gauthier’s farm in Mooers has Black Angus, White Park and crossbred beef cattle, and Alpine, Nubian and crossbred dairy goats. They brought one summer yearling Angus heifer; two 3-yr lactating does; one 2-yr lactating doe; and three four-month-old doe kids to the fair this year. Heather’s children, Eli and Aubrey also leased two 10-week-old meat goat kids from another 4H leader. Eli and Aubrey Gauthier are members of the 4H Milk Dipper club. Eli showed in the 4H dairy goat show, the 4H/Open meat goat show, the 4H/Open beef show, and assisted Ava Castine in the FFA beef show. Aubrey showed in 4H dairy goat show, 4H/Open meat goat show, 4H/Open beef show, and assisted Lincoln Perkins in the 4H pig show, and assisted another club member in the open dairy show. Mineral Spring Farm’s two-year-old lactating doe was awarded best in breed in the dairy goat show. “The fair was mostly a sweaty whirlwind, but we are part of a great group of kids and parents in the club that we are with as well as the whole crew in the 4H barn,” Heather said. “We became sort of a pit crew for almost every livestock show division… prep the animal, dress the kids, shine them all up and go! I think overall we all had a great time and the smiles on the kids’ faces tell it all! All the stress and prep and planning is worth it when now, two weeks later the kids are complaining wishing it was still fair week and making plans for what to show next year!”
Castiron Acres – The Castine family
Shaun Castine took a week of vacation from milking cows in Miner Institute’s barn to show his beef cows at the fair. Eleven of Castiron Acres purebred Hereford animals were shown as part of the 4H and FFA shows. Shaun prefers to let his daughter, Ava, 11, do the showing, but says if he has to, he’ll get in the show ring too. Ava really enjoys it, and has “really been working hard,” Shaun said. Shaun’s wife, Emily, is the 4H leader for the Milk Dippers club. Ava earned master showman for the 4H show and reserve master showman for the FFA show, Shaun said. One of their heifers earned reserve champion status and a yearling earned a champion status. Shaun said that his family looks forward to the fair every year and plan to also show at the Malone fair and at a show in Westport. He hopes to eventually take some Castiron Acres animals to the New York State Fair in Syracuse.
Jem Farm, Tangled Reins 4H Club – Dan and Georgia Belrose
Dan Belrose’s daughter, Georgia, has been showing at the Clinton County Fair for four years as part of the Tangled Reins 4H Club, showing horses from Larry and Donna Sorrell’s Jem Farm in Champlain. Dan says that Georgia absolutely loves it. Dan’s role during fair week, in addition to cheering on Georgia, is to wipe down saddles and equipment, muck stalls, spray the horses with fly spray, and act as a personal assistant to Georgia, making sure that she has everything she needs and gets where she needs to be at the right time. “It makes for a long week,” Dan said. “But the kids love it.” Georgia shows a horse and a pony this year and participated in the 4H show on Wednesday and Thursday and then in the open show on Friday and Saturday. She will be representing Clinton County in the 4H show at the NY State Fair in Syracuse for the third year in 2019.
Brightside Farm – Heather Dann and Lincoln Perkins
Heather Dann and her son, Lincoln Perkins, brought three pigs to the fair – Mr. Squealer, Susan, and Apey. They seemed to be the only pigs at this year’s fair. Lincoln showed Susan, who won as champion market hog. Aubrey Gauthier showed Mr. Squealer. The pigs all enjoyed the attention given to them at the fair and liked being pet by visitors. Susan, Mr. Squealer, and Apey entertained fair visitors by playing with a blue Jolly ball and a red Kong Frisbee. Heather said she was surprised by how much attention her pigs got. People enjoyed watching and interacting with the pigs, even stopping to take selfies and videos with the pigs. In addition, Lincoln showed a meat goat kid leased from Valerie Bertholf in West Chazy; and a dairy goat kid leased from Heather Gauthier. Heather said that Lincoln enjoyed showing and cuddling with the goats.