Walking into the event center, one was likely to hear the high-pitched gobble-gobble of a turkey or the low tones of a mooing cow.
The odor wasn’t foul, but the smell of livestock filled the air.
Cages on tables held rabbits, chickens, …
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Cages on tables held rabbits, chickens, turkeys and roosters. Stalls kept pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, cows and sheep from escaping.
It was the local 4-H and Future Farmers of America members’ time to shine at the 2016 Jeffco Fair & Festival.
“4-H is a great program,” said Audrey Bliss, 17. “You can do a project with any interest you have. There’s infinite opportunities.”
Bliss, who will be a senior next year at Golden High School has been doing 4-H for nine years. This year, she entered 13 animals in the show — three market rabbits, six breeding rabbits, two market lambs and two fiber sheep. And with them, she won four awards — reserve champion senior showman for sheep, grand champion senior showman for rabbit, grand champion market rabbit and grand champion fiber sheep.
The Olyowski family of six from Conifer came to the fair because it’s important to support the county they live in. But they came specifically for the 4-H because they love to see the animals — and their favorites are the chickens and the llamas.
“It’s exciting to see the kids learn about how to raise an animal, treat an animal and show an animal,” said Robert Murphy of Lakewood.
Murphy has three children in 4-H. Evelyn, 12, raises turkeys. Sam, 10, does cake-making. And Ellie, 6, is in the Cloverbuds program where she gets to do all different kinds of one-day projects just to be involved with 4-H.
The animals are exciting, Murphy said, but being in 4-H isn’t limited to animals. 4-H offers a wide variety of projects, everything from sewing and baking to robotics and rocketry to gardening and hiking.
“I’m amazed at the depth of the volunteers,” Murphy said, “and how much the kids can learn.”
Kennady Schneider, 10, of Golden has been in 4-H for two years, but this is her first year showing. She brought one of her four chickens — a one-and-a-half year old female named Syke.
Schneider believes the most important skills she has learned through 4-H is good public speaking, leadership and responsibility. But she just enjoys being with the animals and experiencing all the activities.
“It’s just fun in general,” Schneider said.
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