Ed Dunphy

The Culpeper Madison Rappahannock Farm Show, known as the CMR Farm Show, is July 6 through the 10 at Culpeper Agricultural Enterprises (CAE). The CAE is located on Business 29, just south of the new car dealers.

The first few days consist of check-ins/weigh-ins for 4-H livestock and the livestock showing competitions. Saturday and Sunday also include pet shows and the judging of items in the homemakers’ departments, such as baked goods, canned goods, and crafts. The Fair culminates with the annual livestock sale on Monday evening.

You can show your support by visiting with the exhibitors and asking them questions about their experience raising a project animal.  You will be pleasantly surprised at the poise they demonstrate when answering your questions!  The community can also support many of the young exhibitors by purchasing an animal at auction. The proceeds from your purchase go directly to the youth participant who has spent months raising their project animal. Seventy-eight individuals, consortiums and businesses purchased animals at the 2016 show. Yes, I did say consortiums.  Some benevolent groups will raise money throughout the year and pool their resources to buy an animal. Would you be interested in adding your name to the list of buyers?  If so, slip on into the show office and let them know.  They will set you up.

Are you familiar with the wide range of animals that our local youth are raising for this show? You may have guessed food production animals, including cattle, swine, sheep and goats.  You might also have suspected equitation livestock, such as horses and ponies.  Some you might not have thought of include rabbits and alpaca.  Did you know the poultry entries include pigeons and doves?  It is not hard to imagine the number of hours that each child has devoted to the care and maintenance of their animals.  They certainly learn a lesson or two about giving selflessly to a creature that is completely dependent on their care!  In the case of production animals, 4-H’ers may shed a few tears after the show.  The life of a herdsman is one of care and nurturing, combined with practical reality.

A fun event featuring the young 4-H Cloverbuds takes place on Saturday, July 8th at 11 am in the sale barn.  The Fur, Feather & More Pet Show is for children ages 5 through 12.  Some of the categories include Best Celebrity Look-Alike, Pet/Handler Look-Alike, Least Obedient, Best Tail-Wagging, and others.  Does your family pit bull look like Jay Leno?  You might want to enter it in the contest!

Lots of other fun activities are scheduled for Saturday.  The goat-milking demo begins at 9 am.  Other things to see would be the 11 am soapmaking demo, noon honey harvesting and 1 pm fiber spinning & weaving.

Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. there will be a Basic Land Navigation Competition.  There is no entry fee and it is open to non 4-H members as well.  Leave your Garmin at home folks.  For this event you will be provided with a map and a compass.  Now that sounds like buckets of fun!

If your interest is more of the culinary variety, some of the cooking competitions include the pound cake and apple pie contests.  There is quite an extensive list of other baked goods including breads, biscuits, cookies, candies, and more.  You might think about entering an obscure category with the hope that no one else will enter, assuring yourself a blue ribbon.  Think again!  Rule # 9 under general rules and regulations. “Classes with only one entry will be awarded the placing at the judge’s discretion.”  I fell victim to this obscure rule a few years back at another local county fair.  I had the good fortune, or so it seemed, of being the only man to submit homemade cookies in the “adult male division.”  I thought the blue ribbon was a lock.  No such luck!  The judges deemed my entry to be worthy of a third place ribbon at best!

Get out of the house this weekend and go on down to the CMR Farm show!  You will likely run into your neighbors and get to know some other folks you may not have met before.  Take the time to ask some of the exhibitors questions about their animals and you will return home enlightened and entertained!

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