Youth do all the leg work for 74th annual Berkshire County 4-H Youth Fair
Photo Gallery | Berkshire County 4-H Youth Fair
PITTSFIELD -- It's not every day you see a whole fair run by young people.
But that's exactly what the attendees of Saturday's 74th annual Berkshire County 4-H Youth Fair experienced.
The whole event was organized by a group of less than a dozen young people who raised funds, booked entertainment and set up pens and tents.
"This is by the kids and for the kids," Angelica Paredes, UMass Extension Educator and local 4-H adviser, said. "They do it all."
More than 100 farm animals raised by the youth of Berkshire County were on display, including chickens, rabbits, cows and goats.
Hundreds of visitors to the fairground on Utility Drive were treated to the live band music, which included young people on instruments, animal judging and a costume livestock parade.
And an exhibition hall displayed youths' photography, drawing, baking and home-grown vegetables.
But one of the biggest draws of the day was the annual goat-milking contest.
For some participants, including Pittsfield City Councilor Lisa Tully, it was their first-ever goat-milking experience.
"This is harder than it looks," she exclaimed, while milking "QT 3.14" (pronounced Cutie Pie), a goat of River Valley Farm in Pittsfield.
State Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, laughed as he finished milking Nutella, a goat of Finicky Goat Farm in Dalton. He posed for a picture before ending his turn.
Of the nine participants -- which included Pittsfield Chief of Police Michael Wynn and Mayor Daniel Bianchi -- the winner was Dale Newberry, a captain with the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department.
Young 4-H association vice-president Aaron Cuevas, 17, of South Deerfield, was showing six of his family's Brown Swiss cows on Saturday.
"It really opens up people's eyes," he said of the fair. "Some people have never been this close to a cow. The more kids interact with animals, the better. It's not something they're exposed to every day."
"You don't see many farms anymore," said Henry Cadorette, 18, of Pittsfield. Cadorette, who has previously grown and entered produce including squash and zucchini, will be president of the youth association in the coming year. Next year will be the 75th anniversary.
Keeley Baker, 17, of Pittsfield, was in charge of the rabbit booths. She's been involved in the organization for most of her life -- her 4H leader was her childhood baby sitter -- and has raised animals as well as help organize the fair.
For Baker, her favorite part is the people she's gotten to meet through the years.
Hannah Heath, 11, of Lee, received a blue ribbon for Lunar, her 4-year-old Nubian goat. Also in tow were Artemis, Sundae and Athena. Each one has a different personality, she said.
The fair organizers started setting up Thursday afternoon, Cadorette said, and everything was expected to be down by Saturday evening.
But there's no time wasted in planning for the next fair.
"We pretty much start planning [today]," Cuevas said.
Fair organizers invite any interested youth to a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. at the fairgrounds on Utility Drive, off Holmes Avenue. For more information, call 413-448-8285 or email email@example.com.
To reach Edward Damon:
or (413) 663-3741, ext 224.
On Twitter: @BE_EDamon