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Farmington Fair opens with rain and working steer

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FARMINGTON – Although the Farmington Fair’s opening day was a wet and muddy one, Jessica Kelly, 11, and the other five Franklin County 4-H members managed to keep their young yoked responsibilities perfectly clean and dry for the working steer show.

A 60-degree rain fell hard on the metal roofs of the long barns and show rings at the fairgrounds. Looking out from under the Worthley Arena’s cover, a staccato of rapid-fire water shot down from above filling the pooling puddles that surrounded the open-sided structure.

Kelly of Bethel and a member of the 4-H’s Working Steer Club, didn’t seem to notice the rain as she brushed her two sable-brown coated steer and applied a little Pam oil spray to hooves and budding horns to make them shine.


Jessica Kelly, 11, at left, and other members of the Franklin County 4-H Working Steer Club, wait to start showing their steer before a judge in the Farmington Fair’s opening day.

Her mother, Doreen Kelly stood nearby holding her coat, every once in a while raising it to offer a little more warmth to her daughter, who declined each time.

“She really enjoys it,” Doreen Kelly said of her daughter’s work with her young steer. “She gets up early everyday to feed them before she goes to school and takes care of them after school. It’s good for children to get out and not sit inside all the time.”

The steer and oxen scooting contest in the pulling ring held on the other side of the fairgrounds delayed the working steer show from its 11 a.m. start because some had signed up to participate in both events. No matter, Jessica Kelly just kept brushing, spraying oil and moving her steer back and forth to keep busy.

Then, once everyone arrived including the judge, the six 4-Hers maneuvered their twins to form a straight line and the judging on just how well they had trained and took care of their steer began.

The Fair runs through Saturday. Monday is Agriculture Education Day from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thousands of students from across western and central Maine arrive to spend time learning
about the farming way of life.

At 2 p.m. the midway opens with ride specials from 5-10 p.m. At 4 p.m. 4-H Dairy Club will hold its show and from 6-7 p.m. Lori Pelletier will perform. Then at 7 p.m. it’s the demolition derby at the race grandstand.

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