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Ag Expo still a hot event

July 20, 2007|by SHANNON EPPS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - On Carly Shaw's 11th birthday, she was with her father and her sister at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

"There's nothing she'd rather be doing," said her father, Robbie Shaw. Carly agreed.

The three were setting up a space Thursday night for the dairy cows they plan to show at this year's Washington County Ag Expo & Fair south of Hagerstown. The event officially kicks off today, but many have been preparing for the coming week.

Shaw said Carly has been participating in the event since she was about 6 years old. Her 15-year-old sister, Courtney, has been involved since she was about 7.

Courtney's only complaint about the event is that it is too short.

"It goes by quick," she said.

Daniel Thomas, 18, said he has been coming to the Ag Expo for nine years.

"It's fun," he said. "You get to work with the animals all year, and then sell them at the end and make profit off of them."

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Thomas said he uses the money from sales to buy new cows and equipment.

He said he plans to participate in the tractor pull Saturday night and tug of war Sunday.

While Thomas and the Shaws were setting up for their animals, Rachel House was waiting for judges to look at pieces of her original crafts, including greeting cards and a stamp box.

Rachel, 13, is a member of the Washington County 4-H program, which encourages youngsters to enter contests and have their creations judged.

Rachel has been involved in the Ag Expo for five years, and she said her favorite part of the event is showing sheep.

"It's a lot of work, but it's all worth it when you get to show it," she said.

While many of the competitors in the 4-H contests have been participating for several years, some are entering for the first time this year.

Levi Stone recently moved to Smithsburg, and this is his first year at the Ag Expo. He participated in the 4-H crafts contest, and said he won first place for each item that he entered, including origami and a carved hiking stick.

"I was actually kind of surprised," said Levi, 12. "I knew I'd at least get second or third, but it turned out I got first."

His mother, Annyce Stone, is a teacher at Hagerstown Community College, and said she appreciates the educational aspect of the event.

"We home-school, and this is a good way to bring in many different kinds of education, whether it's science, raising animals or arts and crafts," Stone said. "4-H can cover so many things, and it can be a learning experience as well as just genuine fun."

Levi said he is enjoying the Ag Expo so far, and he was happy about his winning crafts.

"I'm pretty excited about it," he said.

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