Geary County Free Fair fares well due to fair weather

Weaving his way through and over the pig pen railings, Grady Erichsen, 9, grabs some feed for his pigs in the 4-H competition at the Geary County Fair Tuesday evening.

The pigs’ squeals weren’t so much squeals as they were shrieks when the Youngers family walked through the pig pens at the Geary County Fair Tuesday evening.

The pigs were so loud that they startled 2-year-old twins, Laila and Leah Youngers. They hid away in their parents’ arms, keeping their heads up with a cautious curiosity for the pigs, some of which seemed taller than the twins.

That caught the attention of Grady Erichsen, 9, who had his pigs in the pigsty. With the showmanship that only a fellow kid could muster, Erichsen climbed the pigs’ perimeter to present his pigs to the twins and their parents, Nick and Cortney Youngers. His pigs were half his age, so about 4 or 5 years old.

Several other encounters like that played out throughout the night, where young future farmers met older city-dwellers (and vice versa) at the Geary County Fair. Tuesday evening, the fair hosted a fire truck display from the Junction City Fire Department, as well as a barnyard Olympics competition.

Briana Emig walked through some of the quilt exhibits with her 2-year-old daughter, Aria. Briana was at the fair to show support for her sister, who was showing goats, but she also took advantage of the opportunity to sightsee with her daughter. Aria’s favorite part was seeing the bunnies, although she wasn’t too keen on the chickens, Briana said.

“It’s such a family event, and I love that it brings people together,” Briana said. “We work so hard as a community all year, and we get to come together and showcase what our hard work can do.”

So far, the fair’s been off to a great start, in large part thanks to great weather, said Ginger Kopfer, a 4-H agent with the fair.

“We had a lot of kids participating in 4-H this year,” Kopfer said. “One of our favorite things is the barbecue and 4-H auction that happens on Thursday nights, and we’re really excited for that. It’s just a great time for people to come out and see other people in the community.”

“It draws people together, and it gives them a chance to see some of our 4-H kids and their work,” Kopfer said. “Maybe our future is in better hands than we think it is sometimes. I think people should check the fair out, if not this year, then next year. The great thing is we have one every year.”

The fair continues Thursday with the 4-H barbecue and watermelon feed, which starts at 4:30 p.m., and a 4-H livestock auction follows at 6:30 p.m. A ranch rodeo concludes the fair at 7 p.m. Friday.

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