MONROE — A cacophony of bahs emerge from the arena as dairy goats lined up for inspection Sunday at the Evergreen State Fair.
Boxes of ribbons were stacked on the sideline, awiting winners.
With just a few days left, there were just a handful of fair events to go before participants packed up.
Competitors, wearing all white, scratched their goats’ backsides as they led them around under the watchful eye of a judge.
Elianna Mielbrecht, 15, was showing one of her youngest goats, Rein-E-Day, who helped her earn a blue ribbon. The Snohomish resident was back for her seventh fair, bringing 10 goats in all.
The camaraderie Mielbrecht experiences at the fair is one reason she comes back every year.
“I like hanging out with people that love goats as much as a I do,” she said.
In the pig barn, the “swineologist” on duty, Tom Muchoney of Machias, was back for his 38th fair.
He raises about two dozen pigs every year. Before Muchoney retired from the Boeing Co., he would wake at 4 a.m. to feed them before heading to work.
Questions from visitors who stopped by his booth ranged from “Can I pet the pigs?” to “Do most of the animals become food?”
Muchoney doesn’t parse words.
“Eventually, all the pigs are going to be slaughtered,” he told one fair-goer.
His favorite inquires come from little kids who ask if he knows where milk comes from.
The fair, Muchoney said, connects the next generation to agriculture and farming.
“You wouldn’t believe how many kids don’t know where their food comes from,” he said.
There have been no smoke-filled skies from wildfires, as in the past, and little rain, so tens of thousands of visitors have been lining up at food booths and carnival rides and games the past two and a half weeks.
“We’re on track to set another record for total attendance,” said Shannon Hays, spokesperson for Snohomish County parks.
Fair attendance has been on an upward trend the past few years.
The beer garden, new this year, has been full most nights, Hays said.
Monday is the last day the fair will be open.