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Ready, set, goat to the County Fair!

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Carol Ennis, fairplex employee and baby animal caretaker for the past five years, feeds a pair of 2-week-old goats Monday. She and her co-worker Val Shacklet had to add powdered milk to the feeding solution for the goats because their mother does not produce enough to feed all three of her babies. Goats typically do not have triplets, because they generally can only hold enough milk to support twins. Visitors can see these animals in the Big Red Barn. / photo by Kaitlin Pyne

Carol Ennis, fairplex employee and baby animal caretaker for the past five years, feeds a pair of 2-week-old goats Monday. She and her co-worker Val Shacklet had to add powdered milk to the feeding solution for the goats because their mother does not produce enough to feed all three of her babies. Goats typically do not have triplets, because they generally can only hold enough milk to support twins. Visitors can see these animals in the Big Red Barn. / photo by Kaitlin Pyne

Arturo Gomez Molina
Staff Writer

The crunch of dry dirt echoed through the building as children rushed around winding fences to get to the front of the line. They stood along the fences, waiting, in the thick, sticky air.

Finally at the entrance, they entered slowly with hands full of feed, ready to embrace the slimy licks of dozens of hungry farm critters.

The Los Angeles County Fair returned Sept. 1 to the Fairplex in Pomona for its 95th year.

One of the most popular attractions that has families flocking from all over southern California is The Farm.

The fair has introduced more than 500 animals to the festivities this year and their farm provides an intimate, up-close and exciting experience for fair goers of all ages.

Some of this year’s most popular activities at the Farm include feeding baby sheep and goats in the petting zoo, cheering on miniature pigs in dashing races and consuming crispy cricket tacos in the Bug Barn.

People are welcomed into The Farm by a 20-foot tall replica red barn entrance.

Once inside, there are more than 10 large barns and stables that house over 500 animals for the public to interact with, pet and even milk.

The nursery of the biggest barn is a crowd favorite. Everyone has a chance to get up close with newborn calves, squealing piglets and howling kids; not the ones full of cotton candy, but the baby goats.

This, along with the petting zoo, buzzing bee presentations and the amusement of live turkey racing, is what brings crowds back each year.

“We’ve been coming since we were kids and this is my first time in the petting zoo,” 24-year-old Covina resident Emily Arosco said.

Arosco was accompanied by family and friends who all said they were thrilled to see what other activities The Farm had to offer.

Arosco was accompanied by Melanie Pinegar, 27, from Glendora, and they shared their exhilarating first experience in the Fair’s petting zoo.

“It was really fun to be able to feed the animals and get really close. There were so many of them in there,” she said.

Arosco and Pinegar made their way over to Sudsy’s Barn, a hand washing station covered in cartoon farm animals, along with a kid-friendly hand washing instructional video, to clean up after touching the animals and enjoy the rest of the cool evening at the fair.

A tidbit that many fair goers do not know is that most of the animals, and the young workers in red staff shirts seen on the fairgrounds, come from California State Polytechnic University Pomona.
Claire Southerland , a recent Cal Poly Pomona graduate with a bachelor’s in animal science, chose to come back to work at the Fair’s Farm.

“I choose to work in this part of the fair every year because its what I want to do,” she said. “It’s what I studied. And I love all the animals! My favorite animals here are definitely the sheep and the goats in the petting zoo. I could spend all day in there.”

She said she plans on coming back every year for as long as the fair will have her.

Aside from the Farm, on the other side of the Fair are exotic animals in Mojo’s Wild and Crazy Lagoon. Mojo the capuchin monkey is the area’s host to porcupines, a sloth, an ostrich, a zebra and Stanley the giraffe.

Stanley is a crowd favorite, looking over guests as the fair’s tallest resident. With feedings twice a day, visitors line up to feed Stanley lettuce and carrots.

Other animals are scattered throughout the fair in various exhibits, including flamingos, hedgehogs and komodo dragons.

The Los Angeles County Fair is open every Wednesday through Sunday until Sept. 24.

Arturo Gomez Molina can be reached at arturo.gomezmolina@laverne.edu.

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