by HANNAH BROADBENT
Thousands of people came out to celebrate their home and traditions in Carver County last week at Carver County Fair. Event goers participated in log rolling, rock-paper-scissors contests, live music, car and tractor show, 4-H, a lot of food and more. The fair Wednesday, August 9 to Sunday, August 13, the Carver County Fair took place.
Chanhassen resident Nadia Narayan and her family attended the fair and took part in their favorite events – rides, animals and food. Narayan took friend and San Diego resident Martha Allison to the fair for her first time.
“It’s really amazing, and the animals are fun,” Allison said.
Narayan has been for her fifth year now. She said her and her husband make sure not to miss it.
“We always come, it’s just fun, and I’m a foodie,” Narayan said.
The two did the day right. Mini-doughnuts, cheese-curds, corn on the cob and pork burgers were on their menu and they weren’t disappointed. Most importantly though, the kids had fun.
“They like to see the animals – to get up close to them,” Allison said.
Narayan and Allison said the fair is integral to a happy way of life. They agreed it is important for all those who attend and those are involved.
“I think it’s important to have the community come out and hang out and just have a good time – just be in your community,” Narayan said.
Allison stressed the importance of kids’ role in the fair and how that translates to the community, whether they are attending or participating.
“It’s great for the kids to raise the animals and show them but also be a part of something bigger,” Allison said.
Waconia resident and 4-H member Travis Willemsen showed his Llama, Archie last week. He said he had been preparing for months, and is ready to receive his ribbon. Willemsen was taking a break from the Llama barn, one of the busiest spots at the fair, by taking Archie for a walk.
Leash in hand Willemsen lead Archie through the bustling streets of the fair, they didn’t make it fair before being swamped with people petting Archie and taking pictures. Willemsen has been involved with the 4-H Llama project for two years and wasn’t phased by it.
“I like the fair a lot to be honest, my favorite part is my llama right here,” Willemsen said.
Elsewhere at the Carver County Fair, Gerald Elling of St. Bonifacius and granddaughter Alexe, 19, delighted in checking out the photography exhibits on display.
Elling, a 1969 Waconia High School graduate, was happy to tour the photography, food and other exhibits on display in the Agriculture building.
While she did not submit anything this year, Alexe, a 2016 Waconia High School graduate, was able reflect on past photography and baking submissions. Among the highlights was a grand champion 3-layer vanilla cake made to look like hamburger she submitted when she was 7 with the inspiration of her grandmother and Gerald’s wife Karen.
“She takes a lot of pictures and she likes to bake,” said Alexe of her grandmother.
Gerald joked while he doesn’t cook, always enjoyed eating the leftovers. At the fair though, Gerald was content eating 4-H burgers, a longtime tradition.
“I grew up in Waconia and have been coming to the fair since I was tiny,” he said.
Alexe, who is studying nursing at Mankato, was also eager to enjoy some more food to enhance their fair experience.
“I really like the food,” said Alexe. “I like the deep fried cookie dough.”
The winning cake would surely have been the delight of soon-to-be Waconia High School junior Katherine Kurtz, 16, and senior Abby Mohr, 17, who were enjoying the fair and savoring the final moments of summer and looking ahead to cheese curds and corn dogs.
“It’s close and it’s something to do and it’s exciting,” said Kurtz, with Mohr in full agreement.
Patti Dietzel was in the Poultry barn, teaching consumer education. She said she loves the fair because it is an amazing time to socialize.
“You see a lot of people you don’t see a lot of the time, you see your friends and it’s good camaraderie,” she said.
Dietzel said to kids in 4-H though, the fair is something they work towards all year. She said 4-H allows kids to shows their knowledge, responsibility and teamwork skills.
Dietzel said a prize winning bird means a lot of hard work. She said that means getting it early in its life and raising it with all the right things like the right food, good care and housing. She said the owners are prepping the birds their whole life to get a ribbon, and some birds can be much more high maintenance than others.
“Part of the reward of raising an animal is coming to the fair and showing a judge and the public your project,” she said.