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Babies show their stuff at the Ag Expo

August 04, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

Luke Norris, 15 months old, ambled contentedly along in a cow suit, pulling behind him a live chicken in a wagon. The wagon was graced with signs suggesting, "Eat more chicken."

Hailee Long of Boonsboro might have been mistaken for a real veggie as she sat in a picnic basket dressed as an ear of corn with farm fresh produce surrounding her.

"Lend me your ear," the announcer decreed.

Were commercial TV ads being filmed in the area? Nope.

Luke and 3-month-old Hailee were contestants and first-prize winners of Babies on Parade on Monday, Aug. 2, at the 2004 Washington County Ag Expo.

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Babies were presented and judged in two age groups - birth to 14 months, or "nonwalking," and 15 to 35 months, or "walking." A packed crowd watched from the bleachers under the wooden pavilion of the main show ring. Four walkers took turns prancing around, eating up the applause, while four younger babies were pulled along by family members in wagons adorned as floats. Some contestants looked star-struck while others slept.

As the babies passed by, Ag Expo Queen Jamie Beckley, 16, of Williamsport, and Ag Expo Princess Amanda Lee, 14, of Sharpsburg, read narratives provided by each of the baby's families.

Luke, of Williamsport, was dressed as a cow, because the cow sound is one of his favorites to make, and Chick-Fil-A, which uses cows in its ads, is one of his favorite places to eat.

Hailee had a corn-themed float because she was a "husky" baby at birth - 9 pounds and 7 ounces - and "tall as a cornstalk," the announcer said.

Lance Long, Hailee's father, said the idea originated from a play at the family's church in which one actor, who was about 20 years old, was dressed as an ear of corn.

"We thought if we could make a corn costume small enough for Hailee, that would fit the theme for the week," Long said. "And Hailee's (grandfather) has all the vegetables we need (for the float) in his garden."

Sierra Nocar, 19 months old, guided her lamb, Spirit, along on a lead. The two had coordinating outfits of blue and white gingham with sunflowers.

Her narrative read, "Sierra had a little lamb. ... It followed her to the Ag Expo."

Contestant Nina Dayle Price, a 6-month-old from Keedysville, wore a pink, frilly dress and a tiara as she rode waving to spectators from her "Future Ag Queen" float. Nina is the youngest of five, with all male siblings.

Nina's mother, Wendy Price, said she and her friend, Charity Norris, took inspiration for the "Future Ag Queen" theme from a couple places. Nina's family were third-generation farmers before she was born, and her mother, Wendy, was a contestant in the first Ag Expo Queen contest in 1984.

Other babies on parade were Lona Stottlemyer, Alivia Koontz, Abigail Spielman and Lydia Ickes.

Glenda Drury of Cearfoss coordinated the Babies on Parade event. Judging was based on theme originality, workmanship and narration, and on the overall effect and attractiveness of the babies. All participants received prizes, such as portrait studio gift certificates, stuffed animals and bakery gift certificates for birthday cakes.

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