GREENWICH, N.Y. — Some people call us crazy when we bring 30 cows to the local county fair, but it is all part of the fun! This year, not only am I looking forward to getting to show my cows, but also all the fun new events the fair will be hosting, including a Maple Day Scavenger hunt on Thursday that results in free ice cream for those who complete it! Even if you are not a fan of ice cream, there is still lots to look forward to this year at the Washington County Fair in Greenwich, NY.
From the best-dressed calf contest to playing pranks on one another, we sure do have fun at the fair. Although show days can be stressful, it is all worth it in the end when we gather around the picnic table and laugh about the day as we sip our lemonade and eat our chicken dinners. Read on to learn about my favorite reasons for going to the WCF and what I look forward to experiencing for the first time this year.
How Many Cows Are You Bringing!?
It seems to shock people every year when I tell them how many cows we have entered at the fair. The number never fluctuates too much, so I don’t know why they are always so surprised! 30 cows isn’t that many in the grand scheme of things.
I think in actuality, we entered 29, but 30 rolls off the tongue better. We are trying our very best to cut back a few, but I doubt that number will go down by more than 2 by the time we move in. You will have to stop into Barn 2 and count them yourself to see what the final total is! We are the farm with the huge string of cows and the “bippity boppity boo” theme this year courtesy of Bridey Nolan.
Find me (Lila Nolan) at the WCF if you want to be in the article I write about how the fair went this year!
Little Britches’ Showmanship
My niece Maddie is beyond excited about getting to show her calf Smokey in the Little Britches’ showmanship class this year. Since she is too young to show in the real show, this is her chance to shine in the ring with the calf she has worked tirelessly with.
Trust me, not a single other calf on our farm has received as many baths and walks as Smokey! She doesn’t know it yet, but Maddie is going to also love the activity books, bubbles, and crayons she will win for competing in the class! If you want to see something really cute, I highly recommend stopping by the dairy ring Wednesday night at 7!
Over The Hill Showmanship
This year, the Over the Hill Showmanship class is being broken up into two classes: I’m the Real Showman and I’m Here for a Good Time. I’m super excited to nominate some of my non-cow friends in the “I’m Here for a Good Time” class for a good laugh and extremely excited to see who wins the “I’m the Real Showman” class! Maybe we will even get Larry in the ring again, who knows! Stop in after the Little Britches’ class to see what happens!
Favorite Fair Foods
Fair food is quite possibly one of the main highlights of attending the fair. I must admit though, it gets pretty expensive quickly. That is why we pack and cook most of our food, but I still sneak fried Oreos (no matter how much Shania says they are going to kill me, I can’t stop eating them!), milkshakes, and of course, fries.
The food I am looking forward to most this year is pickle pizza! We all tried it once while out at NAILE and loved it. I’m hoping we enjoy the one at the WCF just as much. I will let you all know how it goes!
The one thing I don’t look forward to about the WCF is the extremely early mornings. With about 30 cows to wash and a show that starts at 9:00 AM, you will find us wide awake at 4 AM getting ready for the day. Now, when I say wide awake, I mean Bridey will probably be bopping and dancing around the wash rack while I barely keep my eyes open doing beds. But, we are up!
I’m definitely not a morning person but it is worth it every year to wake up bright and early on show days to get everything ready for the day. I’m excited to see how Ollie does his first time showing at the fair, and how our other youth kids in the string do as well.
Our cows are pretty spoiled year-round. Perhaps Larry’s Alice and Bridey’s Elysia are spoiled more than others, but on our little “hobby” farm, all the cows are a little spoiled. However, during fair time, they get way more spoiled. Baths every day, brushing, conditioning, and slushies! The cows love fair food just as much as we do and we love to share. Nothing like a blue slushie and a cider donut to give your cow a tasty treat and you a good chuckle.
Answering “Phone Calls”
With about 30 animals to watch, sometimes it feels like they never stop going to the bathroom. A fun thing we love to say is “You got a phone call,” whenever a cow goes to the bathroom and someone has to pick it up. You will find all of us sitting around the picnic table telling each other that the cows are calling or playing the “Not It!” game so that we don’t have to stand up for the hundredth time that day.
If any of you want to come answer one of my cow’s “phone calls” you are more than welcome to!
Maple, Beef, and More Days!
In recent years, the fair has created daily themed days related to Washington County agriculture. These days are a fun way to promote the various aspects of Ag in our community.
|Day of the Week||Theme||Activities|
|Tuesday||Equine||Painted Pony Rodeo|
Rope Halter Tying Demo
|Wednesday||Goats & Sheep||Handweavers Demonstration|
Working Goat Class
Maple Demonstration Tent
|Friday||Farm & Produce||Canning Demonstrations|
Pie Eating Contest
Beef Lifecycle Animal Welfare
Beef As Part Of A Healthy Diet
Meat And Greet
Beef Sticks Giveaway
Scavenger Hunt Prize Wheel
|Sunday||Dairy||The Big Push|
Youth Livestock Auction
Dairy Cow-Themed Demo Cars
Perhaps the event I am most excited about is the Maple Day scavenger hunt. Grab a scavenger hunt card on the way into the fair and stop at various locations around the fairgrounds to find 6 out of 8 symbols. Bring your completed card to the Maple building for a free maple soft-serve ice cream cone! Who doesn’t love ice cream?
A Family Tradition
We have not missed a single Washington County Fair week since I have been alive. In fact, my dad has been attending the Washington County Fair for over 50 years without missing a single one. The fair is a fun time to come together as a family and hang out with all our friends. Sure, there are arguments, but overall the week is always a fun one.
The Washington County Fair is a fairly high-competition cow show for a county fair and so it is always exciting when we get a win. It is also just overall a fun time. There is lots to do, lots to see, and the wash rack, parlor, and barns are very nice. I can’t imagine ever missing a fair year for anything. I even skipped college orientation to show there.
I hope Maddie and Ollie grow up to love the fair as much as I have and the fair itself keeps in mind that it is supposed to be about the kids. A good judge once said at the fair that it isn’t about raising cattle, it’s about raising kids. The fair is where kids get to shine for all the hard work they have put into their animals and learn new life lessons about sportsmanship and losing.
I encourage everyone to be lenient with the kids who are doing their best to show up to the ring on time, make small errors in their entries, or struggle to find someone to help them show. It wasn’t that long ago we were all those kids doing our best to figure it out.
Check Out The WCF
I considered it to be an honor to grow up at the Washington County Fair. I got to watch as the fair outgrew its small show ring and moved into the tent. I’ve seen epic floods and witnessed many fights. But I’ve also seen lots of core memories made, many friendships begin, and lots of happy tears because of purple ribbons.
A lot of the Udder Chaos show team attends the Washington County Fair. We may not all be in the same barn, but you will for sure find us there helping each other all week long. Even if you don’t want to come to see the cows (although who doesn’t want to see cute cows!), there is still lots you can do and lots you can eat! Come see what the hype is all about and don’t forget to do the Maple Day Scavenger hunt!
Lila Nolan is a dairy farmer in White Creek, NY who works at Morning Ag Clips. She avidly attends dairy shows and draws from those experiences to write about the Udder Chaos that occurs.