MONROE — The Evergreen State Fair is back, baby.
Thursday was a little cloudy, but no one seemed to mind. Everyone who missed the fair in 2020 was making up for lost time. Families were eating scones, taking selfies and showing off livestock.
Kids were in attendance with the pigs, rabbits, ducks, goats and chickens they had spent years raising.
Ivy Dewey, who is 7½, was showing off her chicken, Moana.
A judge asked Ivy and two other children a series of difficult questions about their birds. The contestants answered questions about the birds’ anatomy as well as how they care for the animals.
Ivy wasn’t fazed. She’s spent three years raising Moana, and Thursday’s event marked her fourth fair.
Moana the chicken is named after a Disney princess, who stars in a 2016 film of the same name. Ivy described the bird as “a good mother” to her chicks. Moana the chicken had no comment.
As an experienced Evergreen State Fair attendee, Ivy’s advice to newbies was to check out the horses. Walking toward the horses, though, it was impossible to miss a large pen of goats and children climbing on rocks.
The playground was filled with goats of varying agility, vying for their favorite rock. A few parents and their children were inside the pen, playing with the goats.
David Pehanich, 10, watched as his two goats frolicked. One clearly enjoyed jumping, often bumping into neighbors in a state of pure bliss.
David has raised his goats for the past three years. He also helps his family raise chickens, but he only shows goats. David said no one asked him, but even if they had, goats were his first choice to show at the fair.
Jonah Gillig, 15, brought his goat, Amber.
“Goats are probably the best animal to show,” Gillig said. “They’re really cute and also just a lot of fun to have around. Most of the time, at least for me, they get along pretty well.”
Gillig said he enjoys watching the goats grow and learn. They’re also fun to play with, he said.
“I highly recommend you get into 4-H,” Gillig said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Tom Muchoney, the Open Class and 4-H Swine superintendent, agreed with Gillig. Muchoney recently received a plaque for working at the fair for 40 years.
“It’s a huge thrill for me to work with these guys,” Muchoney said.
Muchoney said last year was the first time in 37 years he didn’t celebrate his birthday at the fair. He hopes the fair will attract a lot of people this year.
“We’d like to see people,” Muchoney said. “We’re in the business of making memories.”
The horses — Ivy’s favorite part of the fair — were on the other side of the fairgrounds. The Clydesdales were resting, as their caretakers prepared for the shows.
Bob Hamstra, who has been coming to the fair since 1986, was there with his daughter and two granddaughters. The family brought nine Clydesdales.
“We’re driving everything from a cart to an eight-horse hitch,” Hamstra said.
Hamstra’s daughter, Kari Vanloo, said the horses are pretty spoiled. They have nine months to relax in a field, until it’s time to practice for the shows.
“We’ve got some new ones in the hitch this year,” Vanloo said. “We’ve been practicing with those to make sure that they drive good when we get them in the classes.”
The family has participated in the fair since Vanloo was little and missed going last year. Vanloo drove her first class when she was 5. Her daughters, 12 and 13, are driving this year. Both were taking care of the horses.
“It’s pretty fun to be back again,” Vanloo said.
Katie Hayes: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @misskatiehayes.
Katie Hayes is a Report for America corps member and writes about issues that affect the working class for The Daily Herald.