The fairgrounds at Abbotsford Agrifair sprang to life early Friday morning, as exhibitors, food trucks, volunteers and performers converged for the three-day event.
In the 4H barn, kids of all ages fussed over their calves, washing and blow drying them so they are ready for the scrutinizing eyes of the judges.
Kaycee Meier, a senior member of the Sumas Holstien 4H Club, was busy working and laughing with junior member Kylie.
It’s Kylie’s first time showing a calf, and this one’s name is Callie.
They are taking turns applying what looks like hairspray along the Callie’s back, or top line. It’s a product called Clear Magic, and the girls use it to help spike up Callie’s coat.
“It makes them look taller,” Kaycee explains. This weekend, all 4H members will be judged by experts in their fields. They will be marked on showmanship and confirmation of their animals.
At 10 a.m. Friday, the hall was starting to fill with clubs from all over the Lower Mainland and beyond. While thousands push through the gate every day at agricultural fairs through the summer, eager for the specialty foods, rides and games, it’s a weekend of hard work for the kids of 4H clubs.
One young girl picked up a broom and pushed loose hay and dirt off the barn floor, as others looked over their calves or finished hanging signs on gates.
Showing projects is a major part of the 4H program, and they have been a mainstay of summer fairs for decades.
This will be Isabella Sitter’s second year showing, and she’s there with her Nigerian goat named Captain. They were taking a quiet moment in the stall, with Isabella petting Captain and pointing things out to him, getting him used to his temporary surroundings.
It can be a bit stressful for the 4H animals through the weekend, and it’s wise to talk to a member before interacting with the animals.
Isabela Warkentin will be showing a baby goat this weekend. She said it’s best to leave the baby goats alone if they are occupied and eating. But she said if they are poking their heads out of the stall and seem curious, then it’s a good sign they want a pet.
She says baby goats love to be scratched just behind the ears, and demonstrates how her goat enjoys it.
But when it comes to caged animals, such as rabbits, it’s best to just keep your fingers to yourself.
“It scares them and they don’t like to be poked,” said Lily, who is showing a mini rex named Blackberry this year, her third year showing in fairs.
The gates are open from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.agrifair.ca.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.