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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)

Washington County fair a celebration of tradition

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life Cottage Grove, 55016
Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

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.

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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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