While visitors to the Delaware County Fair enjoy food, games and rides, the real business is happening in barns on the outskirts of the fairgrounds. In these barns, animals are shown and judged.
The 1st and 2nd prize individuals in each category are typically guaranteed to be purchased. Many of these animals are raised and shown by local youngsters who are members of 4-H clubs.
“4-H provides opportunities where young people learn by doing,” according to 4-H.org.
One such young person is 10-year-old Sam Griffin. Griffin showed his first goat in the fair this year. The goat, named Penelope, came in fourth place in the breeding doe category.
Watching members of 4-H show their goats was an impressive experience. These children and teenagers know exactly how to show their goats in the best light possible. To an outsider, it is difficult to see the difference between the the animals.
The judges, however, have no trouble sizing up the goats. Considering many different aspects of the goats, including their width and length, the judges are able to tell which goats would be the wisest purchases.
According to the judge, Penelope was a bit too wide in her midsection to win first place. This extra weight, however, made her quite popular with fairgoers.
Arguably the cutest goat at the fair, she got quite a bit of attention. “Everyone wants to take selfies with her,” Griffin said.
Griffin said that he chose to work with goats because “I was interested in them.” Also, he said he likes “how funny they can be and also I always like to see goats and thought it would be fun to (raise one.)”
When asked what he learned from raising Penelope, Griffin said, “I never knew that (goats) could twist their heads all the way around and also I never knew they came from Africa.”
Griffin’s mother, Jessica Smith, credited her son.
“He’s being modest. He did a lot of work and he learned a lot.”
She said Griffin learned “how to take care of animals, responsibility, and where our meat comes from.”
“I learned even more than I was supposed to,” Griffin said.