The Fair is fun, but it teaches, too - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

The Fair is fun, but it teaches, too

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  You may be able to smell the funnel cakes cooking. Our region's biggest fair is underway. Albany's Exchange Club Fair runs through Sunday. It's full of family fun... But some people forget the fair is rooted in agriculture.

The rides at the Club are waiting to be won and the funnel cakes... and Twinkies and Oreos... were still unfried.

But for Morgan Sumner, the fair was in full swing.  She was showing off her pigs to the audience and judges. While many people think all pigs are alike, the judges are looking for certain qualities.

"In showmanship he's looking for eye contact, that you always keep the pigs between you and him," said Morgan.

The goal is to show that you can control these sometime uncontrollable animals. It takes practice.  "I work with my pigs every day after school."

Just like with elite athletes it takes a while to get good at it. Sumner has put in her share of time. "I started when I was in 4th grade and now I'm in 11th grade."

But she's reaped the rewards for her hard work. Her pigs are not just your ordinary swine, these are award winners. "I've gotten trophies and belt buckles and ribbons."

While it may not seem to fit in with the Ferris wheel, Skip Nichols, Exchange Club Fair Manager says the livestock portion of the fair is equally important. "We are an agricultural fair."

After all, many of these kids that come to the fair come from the city and have only seen the farm animals on display here from the car window.  "It's sad when you're in the cattle barn itself and they're having cows in there and you hear little kids say 'that's a big dog,'" said Nichols.

But seeing the animals close up gives them a better understanding of how important this sometimes hidden part of our area is. 

"All they see is the buildings in the city and they don't get out to see where their food actually comes from."

So that they can appreciate the work it takes to bring that food to the table. And Skip Nichols says you can see the animals on parade in the show ring free. Just go to the commercial entrance to the fair.


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