WAUSEON — Benjamin Booth took his time as he used a brush to put hair conditioner on his show pig as it tried to lick his hand.
The 9-year-old first-year 4-H member from Pettisville, Ohio, was to show his 7-month-old female pig named Gitta on Saturday, so he wasted no time to get ready Friday.
His “Project: Market Hog” was one of dozens at the pig pavilion, one of the attractions that helped draw an expected crowd of about 30,000 people when the 161st Fulton County Fair kicked off Friday, according to Dennis Wyse, president of the Fulton County Fair Board. The event, one of Ohio's largest, runs through Thursday at the fairgrounds on State Rt. 108, just north of the Wauseon exit from the Ohio Turnpike.
“I feel good now ... I like the people here. They are friendly and curious, asking me a lot of questions like: 'Is it your pig? How old is she? How old are you?'” young Booth said. “[But] I'll get nervous tomorrow. I just know it.”
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Just outside the pig pavilion, Bridget Whitaker walked fast, on her way to where lambs were kept.
“I love the fair, because they have great animals and great food,” said the 10-year-old first-year 4-H member from Delta, Ohio, adding that she was showing an 8-month-old lamb named Charlie.
“When I got him, it was challenging to walk him, but when he got used to me, it got easier all the way,” she said. “I'm just a little scared about the setting part. [That's] when you walk him and then stop to pose him — make him sit down and lift his head up. But I think I can get that down.”
Outside the animal pavilions, people were milling around on their way to the food stands.
A denser crowd accumulated in the concessions area, drawn to the stands by smells of burning firewood and cooking food, while others tried to keep up with their children rushing off to different events.
Phillip Baldwin, 69, of Omaha, was just finishing his meal.
“I come here for entertainment and food,” the 1967 Fayette High School graduate said. “I've been coming here since I was a kid.”
Highlights of the week-long event included llama and alpaca shows and tractor and truck pulls on Friday. There was also a baked goods auction and contests in fruits, vegetables, canned fruits, culinary, floral, and beef breeding.
Mr. Wyse said organizers hoped the weather “stays like this, with the temperature in the low 80s and low humidity,” so the last year’s Saturday attendance of about 75,000 people could be repeated.
Fairground gates are open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 15 and younger. For more information, go to fultoncountyfair.com.
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