“Barn” to be Wild at the Peninsula State Fair

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2007


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  12-year-old Freya Chay, and 11-year-old Vienna Schmitter-Schrier of Soldotna await the start of the 4-H Junior Market livestock auction at the Ninilchik Fair.

12-year-old Freya Chay, and 11-year-old Vienna Schmitter-Schrier of Soldotna await the start of the 4-H Junior Market livestock auction at the Ninilchik Fair.

“The Biggest Little Fair in Alaska,” totally lived up to its theme of “Barn to Be Wild,” this year. From the popular Friday evening performance by Grammy Award winning BeauSoleil to the successful 4-H Jr. Market Livestock auction, bucking salmon, to racing pigs, the barn door was open for 3 full days of wild State Fair fun in Ninilchik. “We sold $175 tickets for the concert which raised $3,500 and covered my personal guarantee for the event. It was really nice, because the BeauSoleil group heard that I had made that personal guarantee and they called me up before cashing their check to be sure I wouldn’t be out anything. I wasn’t and they said they would really like to come back because this was their favorite fair,” reported Fair Manager Lara McGinnis.


Strong community support helped 4-H Jr. Market Livestock auction raise over $74,000.

Over 600 attended the Cajun concert and went wild for the music, “We didn’t have anyway of clearing the fair grounds before the concert, so a lot of folks who came to the fair earlier stayed over for the concert and didn’t buy tickets, so next year we’ll figure a way to clear the grounds so we can sell more tickets, but everyone had a fantastic time and wants to do it again next year and we’re already talking about headliners for next year,” added McGinnis.


McGinnis also pointed out that the Fair Board of Directors has 4 vacancies to be filled this fall and anyone Peninsula wide who would like to serve may contact Lara McGinnis in Ninilchik at 567-3670. Even though most of the weekend offered cloudy, threatening skies, nearly 7,500 paid attendance at the Ninilchik State Fair grounds. All, including a few "sneak in's," who experienced country fair at its finest.


Senior Abi Daniels raises the Grand Champion Steer and bids farewell to 4-H at the Peninsula State Fair.

The 4-H Junior Market Livestock Auction posted another great success with bidder proceeds totally over $74,000 this year even though there were fewer animals entered in this year’s sale, according to Nancy Veal, UAF 4-H & Youth Development Agent, “Overall 4-H participation was up this year, but more of the kids chose to do other things with their animals other than enter them in the sale. We also had some other fun things for our members this year like the picture scavenger hunt where the kids took photos of themselves at different places and it was really some crazy fun that all enjoyed,” Veal told the Dispatch. “The community support was fantastic again this year with the per pound prices paid being at the high end of our averages, and for all those who came out to support 4-H we are truly grateful,” added Veal.


From climbing walls for candy, to riding the mechanical bull and salmon, tap dancing to bungee pulling, Peninsula State Fair fulfills its "Barn to be Wild" theme to perfection.

The Soldotna Rotary Club once again bought the Grand Champion Hog raised by Caleb Daniels prevailing in the bidding over State Senator Tom Wagoner. Wagoner later bought the reserve champion hog which he donated to be barbequed by Carrol Martin and served at Industry Appreciation Day. “That’s some real Republican pork,” laughed Wagoner and for a great cause. Jim Udelhoven, of Udelhoven Oilfield System Services was also the high bidder on several animals as well as making add-on contributions to all the participants in the 4-H Jr. Market Livestock auction. Assisting Norm Blakeley with the auctioneering this year was Jim Hoobler of Pt. Graham, “It took me awhile to learn how to pronounce Udelhoven, but I can say Jim real good, and he was a great help to me ‘cuz he just kept on bidding and helping out these kids,” said Hoobler.


Buyers at the 4-H auction provide help for many 4-H projects, “This year we decided to donate the funds from the sale of the turkey raised by Kendra Ashwell to Tim Osmar, a past 4-H leader, who wasn’t able to fish this year because he had to have a severely broken leg operated on.


Peninsula State Fair goers enjoy seeing the award winning home grown veggies

Tim gave up a whole year of racing his dogs in the Iditarod to be the eyes for the only blind woman to ever run the race,” said Veal. 4-H dad Steve Beldon of Ninilchik, a Tom Bodett sound-alike, assisted in the auction this year and pointed out, “This has to be one of the best community supported 4-H programs in the nation, but 4-H is far more than raising livestock, it’s everything from theatre to art and music and you can literally do anything under the 4-H umbrella,” said Beldon. Anyone interested in more information about 4-H programs or membership can contact Nancy Veal at the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 262-5824.

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