While the number of most animal projects in the fair has increased, the number of horse projects has remained steady.
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Growing interest in the Junior Fair is causing a crunch for animal housing, prompting reorganization of space and the addition of two tents.
Last year, 66 beef and dairy feeder cattle were entered; this year there are 125, said Kim Moff, Junior Fair manager. The same is true for other animal projects.
"We have 42 turkeys this year. Last year we had 27," she continued. Rabbits are up from 145 in 2001 to 150 this year.
To accommodate the increase in entries, new 40-by-80-foot and 14-by-21-foot tents will be added, said Fair Manager Bev Fisher.
The large tent will be used to house project animals. The smaller tent will house dog club displays. The space dog displays occupied last year will be used to house other project animals.
Some dog owners are not happy about the change, Fisher said, but it was necessary to accommodate all the youngsters who want to participate in the Junior Fair.
The increase in the number of animal projects entered is primarily due to the number of youngsters completing multiple projects. More youngsters are also joining 4-H, Moff said.
More people are moving to the country or to small farms where they can raise market project animals, Fisher added. Market animals are appealing, she said, because they are short-term, not year-round, projects.
While the number of most animal projects entered in the fair has increased, Fisher said, the number of horse projects has remained relatively steady, as have the number of 4-H clubs. There are about 80 4-H clubs in Mahoning County.
Other organizations participating in Junior Fair are Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Grange, Campfire USA, Future Farmers of America and Mahoning County Farm Bureau.
All youngsters wishing to complete animal projects must attend a three-hour quality assurance program each spring, Moff said. The program is required by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and teaches youngsters about animal health, nutrition and safety.
The program also teaches youngsters sportsmanship and the proper way to approach potential buyers for market animals. This year, 40 volunteers and 20 invited speakers took part, Moff said.
Some counties merely require youngsters to watch a video from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Some counties also limit the number of projects youngsters can complete in one year, Fisher said. "We haven't done that, but all areas of Junior Fair have made accommodations [to make space for the increase in the number of projects on display]."
Most animals will be on continuous display. Dogs will be shown from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. everyday of the fair and will participate in agility competitions Thursday and Friday and obedience competitions Sept. 1 and Sept. 2; dogs will not stay overnight.