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Fair time arrives at last

Kurt Breimhurst holds one of his livestock entries as poultry show superintendent Kristen Eaton places a band on the bird during Tuesday’s 4-H Entry Day at the Goodhue County Fair. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)1 / 2
Megan Mattson (left), Cal Luebke, Madi Luebke and Max Mattson (back) take a quick break from readying their swine entries to pose Tuesday at the Goodhue County Fair. The Kenyon-Wanamingo youths raised the swine since April. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)2 / 2

ZUMBROTA — Although the carnival and food vendors were still setting up Tuesday morning on the Goodhue County Fair, dozens of area youths and 4-H members were hard at work registering their livestock.

A steady stream of trucks with animal trailers made their way through the fairgrounds north of Zumbrota, unloading sheep, goats, cattle and swine for the fair’s 4-H Entry Day.

“Today we weigh them and then they get put into different classes,” said seventh-grader Megan Mattson, watching as her older brother, Max Mattson, was shaving their swine entries with clippers.

The Mattsons were joined by Megan’s longtime friend Madi Luebke and brother Cal Luebke.

“We get them when they’re about a couple weeks (old),” Madi Luebke said about the swine. At that age they weighed around 40 pounds; now, she said, they are closer to 250 pounds.

Jeannie Mattson, Megan and Max’s mother, said the swine have become like family pets since they were purchased at auction last April.

“These kids walk them a couple times a day,” she said, adding that one pig in particular developed a love for belly rubs.

Megan and Madi said they get excited for the fair each summer. Besides the animal shows, the pair said they are looking forward to the food and rides.

A few barns down, Kristen Eaton was overseeing poultry registration with fellow 4-H volunteer Whitney Jaeger.

This is Eaton’s first year as the poultry show superintendent, and she said she was ready for a long day of checking in entries.

One participant was Kurt Breimhurst of Kenyon, who was registering around a half a dozen birds for the show, including brown and white egg layers. After preparing their pens in the poultry barn, he began the process of banding them with Eaton and Jaeger.

All in the preparation

Breimhurst said banding poultry can be a difficult task if they are unruly, but he made sure to spend time with the birds and train them for the big day. He also spent the night prior giving them a bath to make sure they looked their best.

More than 140 animals were expected for Tuesday’s poultry show, including various types of chickens, turkeys, ducks, bantams and pigeons.

Eaton said her family has been involved in 4-H for the past five years, and that her daughter also will be showing goats in the show Thursday evening.

“So basically we’re here every day,” she said.

The Goodhue County Fair runs through Sunday Aug. 10. Details and event schedules are available at www.goodhuecountyfair.


Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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