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Washington County fair a celebration of tradition

People from around the east metro flocked to the Washington County Fair in Lake Elmo, July 30-Aug. 3 at the fairgrounds in Lake Elmo. Food vendors, animal contests and a midway entertained event-goers all weekend. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)1 / 11
Members from the United Church of Christ, in Cottage Grove, man a fresh sweet corn and lemonade stand at the Washington County Fair in Lake Elmo. Members said it is a great way to interact with congregation members and experience the county’s annual get-together. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)2 / 11
Sweet corn and lemonade was a hot-ticket item at the Washington County Fair in Lake Elmo. Sarah Larson, a congregation member at United Church of Christ, in Cottage Grove, serves up ears of corn inside the church’s food stand. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)3 / 11
Ted Brown, a congregation member at United Church of Christ, in Cottage Grove, flips fresh sweet corn inside a heavy duty grill at the Washington County Fair. Several members of the church ran a sweet corn and lemonade stand. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)4 / 11
The Washington County 4-H building was a popular attraction at the fairgrounds and showcased artwork, science demonstrations, clothing designs and other creations made by club members. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)5 / 11
”What kind of lady bug is that?” asked Bella Widmer, 5, of Chisago. Widmer, Diesel Lundeen (middle), 5, of Chisago, and Cole Kral, 9, of Hugo, check out the bug display inside the 4-H building at the Washington County Fair in Lake Elmo. Thursday was STEM Day and 4-Hers talked about the science behind entomology. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)6 / 11
Grace Verdick, 13, of Cottage Grove, presents her Cornish Rock chicken to judge Lowell Eichenberger, of Lakota, Iowa, during Thursday’s poultry judging contest at the Washington County Fair. The Oltman Middle Schooler won a blue ribbon. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)7 / 11
Joe Verdick, 11, of Cottage Grove, tells judge Lowell Eichenberger, of Lakota, Iowa, about his Cornish Rock chicken during the poultry judging contest. He and his sister, Grace, 13, both won blue ribbons for their chickens. 8 / 11
The Schmitt family from Lakeland pet 2-month-old holsteins from Apple Acres Farm, in Hastings. Kara Schmitt said her children, Cecilia, 4, and Karsten 7, like the interaction with the animals. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)9 / 11
People from around the east metro flocked to the Washington County Fair in Lake Elmo, July 30-Aug. 3 at the fairgrounds in Lake Elmo. Food vendors, animal contests and a midway entertained event-goers all weekend.10 / 11
Two-year-old Molly Rongstad, of Woodbury, rides the miniature horse carousel Thursday at the Washington County Fair in Lake Elmo.11 / 11

Under sunny skies, the Washington County Fair ushered in the last few weeks of summer, giving area families five days of fun, fair food and 4-H exhibits and competitions.

Hosted on the county fairgrounds in Lake Elmo, the fair celebrated its 143rd year with a large midway, demolition derby, 4-H Arts-In performances and plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with some well-known barnyard animals.

At a 4-H poultry competition last Thursday morning, siblings Grace and Joe Verdick, of Cottage Grove, showcased their 50-day-old cornish rock chickens.

The Verdicks’ mother, Heather, grew up in a local 4-H club and said it teaches her children important life skills, discipline and responsibility.

“We started them in poultry competitions last year and they seem to really like it,” she said.

The siblings learn about handling chickens at their grandparents’ home in Denmark Township, their father, Jim, said.

Joe said he likes learning about the animals but admitted that sometimes chickens can be difficult to work with because “they can get angry.”

“I really like taking care of the animals,” Grace echoed. “We are working with bunnies this year, too. And in 4-H we also do stuff with photography, clothing, the environment and gardening. It’s a lot of fun.”

Congregation members from Cottage Grove United Church, served sweet corn and lemonade at a stand, a job St. Paul Park resident, Barb Larson said gets the church members involved in the community.

Friday morning consisted of more animal judging — dairy goat, beef and rabbit agility — and two Arts-In performances.

The weekend brought out the largest crowds to take in more 4-H competitions, Swinetime pig races, Irish dancers, and of course, the midway with rides provided by Gold Star Amusement.

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