Kids get creative to beat the heat at Berkeley Co. Youth Fair

August 03, 2005|by CANDICE BOSLEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Even though he'll probably end up on someone's dinner plate some day, as of Tuesday afternoon, Rosco the pig had it made.

With temperatures lingering at around 90 degrees, Rosco was in a shady barn and being misted with cold water by Berkeley County Youth Fair participants Tyler Miller, 14, of Bunker Hill, W.Va., and Jake Mason, 14, of Glengary, W.Va.

Whether one has two legs or four, keeping cool at the Youth Fair is not always easy.

Jake Raines has perfected his method.

"You go to like a water bucket or something and you dunk (a cloth) down in there and you wring it out and when it gets really hot you wrap it around your neck or you can go like that," Jake said after dabbing at his face with a T-shirt remnant he had dunked into a pool on the fairgrounds.


Swimming in the pool wasn't allowed.

Jake, 11, of Gerrardstown, W.Va., was at the fair with his father, helping to look after a cousin's hogs.

Katie Hessler, 10, opts for another method.

"Spraying myself. Spraying me and my friends with water bottles. It's been working," said Katie, of Martinsburg, who is showing a goat at the fair. "I (also) keep a little fan around my neck and keep it in my brother's tackle box."

Autumn Yebernetsky seeks shade.

"I sit in the goat barn with my friends and play card games," she said.

Large fans are scattered among the barns, prompting two young men on Tuesday to stand in front of them, lifting their shirts to ensure better air circulation.

Matt Tira, 13, of Inwood, W.Va., said he sometimes turns the hose on himself as he washes his steer.

Tyler Miller - one of the boys spraying cool water on the pig - offered sage advice.

"Drink plenty of liquids," he said.

Animals at the fair are given fresh water frequently, and some rabbits had two-liter bottles of ice added to their cages.

Donald and Daphinee, two mixed blue Swede ducks, stood almost without moving in a pan of water placed in their cage. They had a separate, clean water source.

A brief respite could be found at the fair's large indoor arena, site of an annual ice cream-eating contest.

More than 30 contestants in the junior division, for those 9 to 14 years old, entered. Each was given a plastic spoon and a pint of vanilla ice cream donated by Rock Hill Creamery.

Chad Starner, 14, didn't bother picking up his spoon.

Instead he grabbed scoops of ice cream in his hands and, as he ate, broke apart the Styrofoam container holding the ice cream.

"Where have your hands been today?" an onlooker shouted to Chad.

"I don't know," he shrugged and kept on eating.

Two signs posted outside of the arena read: "Stop germs! Wash hands after handling animals" and "If you pet it, don't forget it. Wash your hands, you won't regret it."

A boy sitting next to Chad tried the same eating-with-his-hands strategy, but choked on his ice cream, causing some to dribble from his nose.

Chad finished in first place and his brother, Trent, also 14, finished in second place.

Asked if he eats ice cream frequently at home, Trent said, "Not really."

"Yes you do," his mother, Kim Starner, countered loudly. "You eat ice cream almost every night."

Only a few participated in the senior division, for those 15 to 21 years old.

One of the contestants was Casey McDonald, 18, who on Monday night was crowned the fair's queen. She took her sash off before eating, but left her crown poised on her head.

Once the contest began, she tried an unusual approach - she shoved spoonfuls of ice cream into the mouths of the two people sitting next to her, Jeff Most and Jacob Blaylock.

While their antics attracted most of the crowd's attention, Nathan Behrmann quietly ate his ice cream and won.

If you go

What: 58th annual Berkeley County Youth Fair

When: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., through Saturday

Where: Youth Fairgrounds on Golf Course Road outside Martinsburg, W.Va.

Cost: $5 per day; free for ages 12 and younger; free for all before noon each day.

Today: 4 p.m., chicken barbecue; 6 p.m., doughnut-eating contest; 7 p.m., mini tractor pull; 8 p.m., Honky Tonk Tailgate Party featuring Rhett Akins, Jeff Carson, Chad Brock and Daryle Singletary.

Thursday: 9 a.m., horse show; 6 p.m., watermelon-eating contest; 6:30 p.m., kiddie pedal tractor pull; 8 p.m., Circle B Cattle Co. bull riding.

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