In its 110th year, East Otter Tail County fairgoers are excited to explore the activities. The fair runs from July 22-25.
The day opened with the 4-H goat show, including a lesson on just how challenging it is to raise goats and keep them fenced in at home. Throughout the goat, beef, poultry and sheep shows, 4-Hers shared their knowledge and stories while a judge viewed their animals. Even with the heat, the day has been a “successful day of 4-H experiential learning,” according to University of Minnesota Extension educator Janet Malone.
“They are learning life skills, they are gaining confidence in their leadership abilities to be able to articulate knowledge and to just persevere and have responsibilities and you can’t teach responsibilities out of a book,” Malone said. “Sometimes life lessons don’t come out of a book either and so sometimes we watch kids be very successful and that’s great and they gain confidence and then you’ll see a young person maybe not be so successful but even in disappointment they can learn and they can build the character that brings about a positive citizen.”
Amongst a small display from the In Their Own Words veterans museum, five veterans gathered for the Quilt of Valor presentation to Swan Loften. Loften served in South Korea for four and a half years. Fair board director Kayla Jahnke and Ramona Wippler shared their thanks while awarding the quilts that both honor and comfort veterans. Two more quilts will be presented over the weekend.
The quilts are awarded nationally to service members or a veteran touched by war through the Quilts of Valor Foundation started in 2003 by Catherine Roberts. In a poem by Roberts, she says:
“May this quilt keep you safe from harm
May it be your good luck charm
I don’t know your name nor the mountains that you face
but what you hold in your arms is a quilter’s embrace.”
Wippler said the Quilts of Valor is a growing program along with 4-H members who have helped make the quilts. She makes about six to 10 quilts every year, including some that head on a bus from Perham to Texas, to the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre and school assemblies in the area. The quilts are presented to as many veterans in as many places as possible, according to Wippler. In her own family, a quilt given to her father remained with him in assisted living and now her mother uses the quilt. The quilts are a powerful and touching award for all veterans, who each put their lives on hold to keep people safe, Wippler said.
Families also toured through the 4-H barns and the Future Farmers of America barnyard. In her first year as a Perham FFA member Alyiah Stoderl said the group has focused on team-building, including participating in the parade and running the barnyard at the fair. She enjoys showing off the sheep, cows and chicks “because the animals get to just stay at home in a field so it’s kind of fun for them to come and see some people and have fun.”
The magic show and hypnotist show also delighted young children as they magically colored an entire coloring book and met Bailey the bunny. People could also tune into Eric's Dance Band and The Cropdusters.
Parking at the fair is $3 though walk-ins are free. The carnival ride tickets are seven tickets for $20, one ticket for $3 and a family pack of 20 tickets for $50. Armbands are $20.
You can view the full schedule on the fair website.