4-H members prepare to show animals at the Marquette County Fair
Five cousins have spent months training pigs and lambs for the fair.
MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - The Marquette County Fair begins Thursday, August 12. Kids in the 4-H program have the opportunity to make crafts, complete science projects, and raise animals to sell.
4-H cousins Addie Lindsey, Mattie and Caleb Holt, and Allie and Charlotte Nelson are all preparing to show pigs and lambs at the fair. While they have enjoyed training both animals, they all agree one is a bit easier to handle.
“Pigs are a little harder, and they’re really messy,” said Addie, age 12. “Lambs, you can run with them, you can put them on a halter and just play with them and snuggle them.”
The group began training some of their animals as early as March. They say they spend time caring for the animals and working with them daily.
For 11-year-old Caleb, this will be his first time showing livestock at the fair. However, he has been training animals for years, and he says he has learned a lot about them in that time.
“They can be very stubborn, but then they can also love you and be really great,” said Caleb. “Sometimes you can get attached though, and that’s sad because you have to sell them.”
Charlotte says there have definitely been challenges along the way.
“They don’t understand very well, so it’s hard to teach them because usually they do the opposite thing,” the nine-year-old said. “I’ve had many times when my line gets out of my hand when I’m walking them, and it’s not very fun to chase them around outside the pen.”
Despite some difficult situations, the children have all trained their animals to obey commands and walk at the showing before the judges.
“I really like getting to bond with them and seeing how much they can actually grow,” said 13-year-old Mattie.
“I love spending time with the animals and getting to learn more about working hard,” said Allie, age 12. “It teaches you a lot of life skills.”
Parent Jenny Lindsey says it is always fun to win a ribbon or title at the fair, but the experience of being in 4-H is its own reward.
“There are days that are a little bit crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because of the work ethic that they’re learning, and simply caring for an animal and that responsibility that they’re learning at a young age,” she said. “I would not trade it for anything.”
Liana Pepin is the MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator who works with kids in Marquette County to get them ready for the fair. She says it’s rewarding to see how far each child comes with their craft, science display, animal, or other project.
“Specifically with animal projects, there’s so much that goes into it,” Pepin said. “It takes a lot of confidence to present your animal to a judge and be compared to other youth. I get so proud in those moments because I know how hard they’ve worked.”
4-H showings will take place each day of the fair.
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