HAMMOND – The 74th annual Hammond Fair began Friday with dairy and vegetable judging, cattle competitions, and an ice cream social.
Organized by the Hammond Fair Association, the fair has genuine small town agricultural feel and celebrates the agricultural heritage of the community.
The fair also encourages younger generations to share their love of farming, breeding cattle, and raising livestock with their peers. Exhibitors are teenagers or younger from throughout northwestern St. Lawrence County.
In Hammond, administrators traditionally give students the first day of the fair off from school.
We start school a day earlier than most districts and schedule our second superintendent conferences on the Friday of the fair, so that kids are out and able to enjoy the fair, Superintendent Douglas H. McQueer said Friday.
The fair is a way for kids to make new friends in the 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) community.
Friends Caleb H. Stamper, 13, Richville, and John P. Zufall, 15, Lisbon, met while showing their chickens at the Gouverneur fair a few years ago, and look forward to meeting up and talking about their livestock at the Hammond Fair each year.
Caleb, a member of 4-H, showed off his two-year-old blue silkie chicken, Boe, Friday to crowds.
Ive raised chickens since I was 5 years old, he said. I kept asking my parents for one as a birthday present and they surprised me with one.
Caleb now owns several breeds of chickens, two pheasants and several ducks, including two mallards.
I like to do go outside, sit on a pail and watch them, Caleb said. Theyre not difficult to take care of, except when you have to clean them. I think Id like to own my own farm one day.
John says his family owns a goose, 15 ducks and 40 chickens. Raising chickens has become a way of life for him.
I usually sell my chickens at the Waddington poultry auc
auction, John said. After about six or seven months, they can sell from anywhere from $5 to $11, which is the most I ever got for one.
Sarah E. Church, 12, Gouverneur, has been competing with 4-H for four years. This year, she is competing as part of the 4-H team Homeschooled Hillbillies.
She says the Hammond Fair is her favorite place to show off her milking shorthorn, Mabel, and rabbit, Ralph. Mabel won second place Reserved Champion in the cattle showing competition Friday.
Its a family farm fair, she said. It feels like home. Its a good competition with great people, and plus there is cotton candy.
The fair continues today with poultry, rabbit, sheep and goat judging. There will also be a decorated-cake contest and kids games, including three-legged races, egg toss and tug-of-war.