Up close & personal: Nevada County fair event offers hands-on experience with animals (VIDEO) | TheUnion.com

Up close & personal: Nevada County fair event offers hands-on experience with animals (VIDEO)

Hayley Jones
Special to The Union

Entering the main gates of the Nevada County Fair, visitors easily see the giant Ferris wheel spinning high above.

Turn to the left and the thrill-seekers are awaiting their turn on the next ride in the midway. Walking down the main path, there's a glimpse of the giant slide, with children racing down it. A little further along, Treat Street tempts your tummy.

But those walking a bit farther down the path are offered an opportunity to meet a few furry friends.

Each year, the fair welcomes barns full of animals to exhibit the hard work of local youth. From cows and hens, to goats and pigs, each animal is prepared to show their stuff, and the smiles of the young people tending to them, to the crowds and judges on hand.

“This is what makes the fair so great, seeing all the animals and interacting with them. It’s fun for the entire family.”

— Michael Yates

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However cute and carefree the animals might appear, many months of planning go into making sure they're ready to get up close and personal with visitors.

"First we go to the Fair Board, the people in charge, and propose our ideas, " said Joyce Stogner, a member of the M3 Queens, a volunteer organization hosting the "Up Close with the Animals" during the fair. "Then we reach out to people who want to show their animals, and finally we get people excited for a chance to interact with these little guys."

Among Saturday's events, fair goers will get a slew of opportunities to see animals in action, as well as a visit to see them at the barns. 4-H Horse Showmanship stars at 10 a.m. at the Horse Arena, followed by Easley Ranch presenting "Packing mules for the Backcountry" at 10:30 a.m. A goat yoga class – with goats actually joining in — starts at 11 a.m. in the Special Events Tent, while a 4-H Youth Equestrian Drill Team takes to the Horse Arena at the same time. (See full schedules of fair events for Saturday and Sunday below.)

While many of the animals featured in livestock shows will be headed for auction this week, some are brought to the fair simply to showcase their feathers and fuzzy tails, or to put smiles on the faces of little ones.

"The animals here today are from 4-H, but most of them are pets," said Michael Yates, with a gray bunny asleep on his lap. "Their owners bring them so we can pet and love on them. This is what makes the fair so great, seeing all the animals and interacting with them. It's fun for the entire family."

Hayley Jones is a senior at Ghidotti Early College High School and intern with The Union.

2018 Fair Daily Schedule Sat by The Union on Scribd

2018 Fair Daily Schedule Sun by The Union on Scribd