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|7/15/2017 ||Email this article Print this article |
|New swine barn christened with 31 piglets on first day of 84th Clinton County Fair|
By Larry Lough
Two swollen sows knew it was show time on opening day of the 84th Clinton County Fair.
About noon Wednesday, one of two sows advertised as "due to farrow" began popping out baby pigs.
By 2 p.m. she had a dozen piglets feeding on her, but she wasn't done yet.
Dan Burzlaff gave a hand to get out No. 13, a runt that needed a little more attention to start breathing. Burzlaff gave the little pig a few shakes, applied a drying powder to help it keep warm, and let the baby come-to slowly.
Meanwhile, mom picked up the pace. Nos. 15 and 16 were out in quick succession about 2:15 p.m., then No. 17 arrived at 2:22.
If it was a competition, this sow was the clear winner - hams down.
Burzlaff turned his attention to the second sow, which hadn't delivered her first until about 1 p.m. At 2:40, No. 8 showed up, and her extended belly indicated more were to come.
And by the end of the day, she had delivered 14. The average is about 12, so the total of 31 was a fine fair showing.
The sows came from Independence, where Pipestone Veterinary Services manages swine farrowing and breeding services for a group of six farmers.
Wednesday's births christened the fairgrounds' new swine barn on the first day of the fair, and the sows' show in the northeast corner of the building drew a steady and curious crowd throughout the day and evening.
If you were not there for the births, you still might have watched as it was live-streamed on the Facebook page of Burzlaff's wife, Kim, who used her cellphone to broadcast the new arrivals in real time.
The birthing might have been a bit too real for one teen, who passed out briefly next to the pen where the productive pig was giving folks their money's worth.
Actually, admission was free on opening day, but you get the idea.
Old is new again
Some old things were new for opening day of this year's fair.
The former swine barn, for example, is now full of chickens, ducks, sheep, and rabbits, whose old home was demolished to make room for the new swine barn.
And a new feature at the fair Wednesday led to some unusual developments during an appraisal of "antiques and uniques," sponsored by Emma Rae's of DeWitt.
Kenny and Julie Moore, of Ghost Town Antiques, reported that the most valuable items were brought in by a woman from Marion.
Her long cloth bag contained four swords from Korea and Japan that pre-date World War II - and some might be pre-World War I. She told the Moores they had belonged to her husband, who is now dead, but she didn't know how they came into his possession.
"She said he had them when they got married," Kenny Moore said. "I'd like to know where he got them."
Moore's "conservative" estimate for the four swords was $6,000 - but he said they could be worth much more, maybe $20,000 or more.
Other interesting items included old posters - or old copies of original posters - that might be worth a few hundred dollars, Moore said.
The owner estimated their value to be much higher.
Food better outside
Some things at the fair don't change much from year to year - like the weather and the food.
Considering this is July, they've both been pretty good this week.
When I decided to eat at 7 p.m. Wednesday, I got the next-to-last fair burger ($3.50), and considered the potato salad ($1).
"Did you make it?" I asked the woman who took my order, hoping to get an idea of how fresh it was.
"No," she said, "so it ought to be good."
She was right - it was the best potato salad I've had for some time. I recommend it as a side for your burger or dog at the fair - lunch or dinner.
I got a bottle of water ($1), loaded my fair burger with onions and mustard, and dined like a (fair) king for $5.50.
With pie and ice cream for only $2, I had planned to do dessert later.
But when threatening weather started to move in, and I headed for the car.
With plans to return later in the week for my pie and ice cream.
County fair weather
Morning showers Wednesday gave way to sprinkles by early afternoon, leaving fairgoers to deal with a little mud amid the heat and humidity of July - perfect conditions for the fair!
Cloud cover kept conditions mostly bearable through much of the late afternoon and evening before storm clouds rolled in amid reports of severe thunderstorms to the west, in Cedar County, and moving our way.
The garden tractor pull was cut short around 7:30 p.m. because of weather. Showers arrived shortly after 8, putting an unofficial end to the day.
But the forecast looked good for the rest of the fair, which will conclude Sunday.
The grounds were busy throughout the day Wednesday.
Master Gardeners attracted a couple of dozen people for their seminars under the community tent, where winners were announced for their outdoor container competition.
Along with the usual first-day check-in of plants and livestock, dogs competed in obedience and showmanship contests, while fairgoers tried to avoid being run over by 1,000 pounds of beef during weigh-in.