By Julie McCay Turner
Bedford has been home to a 4-H club for decades, and current members participate in the full range of 4-H activities through the leadership of Kelly Giusti, Julie Godon and Jan Mendenhall who work alongside Sandy Couvee, or ‘Farmer Sandy’ as she’s known around Chip-in Farm on Hartwell Road.
Set-up has already begun for the 60th annual Middlesex County 4-H Fair in Westford. Because the fair is an old-fashioned, non-commercial event, Bedford 4Hers have been in Westford this week helping to open and clean the fairgrounds, getting it ready for visitors.
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Sandy Couvee said, “This fair is special, it is a unique family-friendly event, and if it should ever go away, a real piece of history will be lost.” Parents laud the club’s impact on their kids, going so far as to bring them to Chip-in for daily visits with their chosen animals. Even kids who aren’t taking care of specific animals are enthusiastic about their participation and the experience of hanging out at the farm.
The fairgrounds open to the public at 8:30 on Friday morning, August 28, with the official opening ceremony scheduled for 1 pm. Because of this year’s important anniversary, the opening parade is expected to be the best in many years.The fair runs for three days, closing late on Sunday afternoon.
Static displays are being prepped, polished, and readied for delivery to the fair grounds.They include Artand Crafts, Creative Writing, Dairy Products, Environmental Awareness, Field Crops, Flowers, Food and Food Preservation, Honey and Beekeeping, Maple Products, Needlework, Photography, Sewing, Vegetable, Wool and Natural .
Carefully-groomed animals and their handlers will arrive at the fairgrounds on Thursday, camping in or near the display barns so that all will be ready when the fair opens and judging begins.
Bedford participants in the 2015 Middlesex County 4H Fair include Adam Colburn: sheep ; Ben Couvee: sheep and beef cattle; Emmett Daley: pocket pets and static display; Shannon Driscoll: sheep and goats, and static display; Dante Giusti: beef, and static display; Victoria Hand: chicken, and static display; Skye Korroch: beef; Meghan Lyle: static display; Theo Lyle: static display ; Aubrey Mendenhall: chicken, and static display; Megan Mendenhall: chicken, and static display; Lucas Rodriguez: swine; Eva Scollo: goat, and static display; Marcy Venuti: static display; Ethan Washington: beef cattle, and static display; and Olivia Washington: static display.
A full complement of static displays will accompany judging of beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, and pocket pets.There will be demonstrations of sheep shearing and participatory activities like dairy goat games; costume parades for rabbits, sheep and goats; an obstacle course race for sheep; a pocket pet tube-eating contest; rabbit races; along with horse, dog and cat shows.
Entertainment will include hayrides and pony rides, performances by storyteller Jim LaChapelle, singer Kevin McNamara, Lizzie the Clown and Marcia Wilson’s Eyes on Owls. And, there will be a delicious chicken BBQ.
The fair will be open through Sunday afternoon.
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Admission: A 3-day pass (ages 10 and older) is $16, a 1-day pass (ages 10 and older) is $8, a 1-day senior pass is $6 and children under 3 are admitted without charge. There are small additional fees for food and some activities. For more information visit www.4hmiddlesexfair.org