After a long run, the San Joaquin County Fair took a break for this year.
But that didn’t stop the local Ag community.
The show went on as usual for members of the various Future Farmers of America chapters and 4-H Clubs.
“I’m hoping for a big payoff with (selling) my pig,” said Maureya May of the Manteca High FFA.
The recent MHS graduate was looking forward to today’s junior livestock auction. On the block will be her 223-pound Duroc named Rich, which took second place in market and was entered in the weekend’s Master Showmanship Competition.
For May, the prospects already looked promising.
“The last two years, I had to borrow money for my (pig) projects,” she said.
May, who was hanging out Friday with first-time meat turkey exhibitor Paige La Due, will be attending Delta College in the fall. She plans to go to California State University, Fresno with sights set on becoming an Ag teacher.
The San Joaquin AgFest Junior Show and Auction is the brainchild of the newly formed SJ Junior Livestock Committee. The goal here is to continue all the accompanying activities only without the midway rides and the fair exhibits.
The SJ Fair Board of Directors voted some seven months earlier to cancel this year’s County Fair in an effort to “develop the resources and come back better and stronger in 2015.” Back then, board President Joe Valente indicated that the fair didn’t meet budget expectations in six of the last seven years.
“Volunteers have made all this possible,” Jason Messer proudly said of AgFest.
The Manteca Unified superintendent was among those who put in countless of hours into AgFest.
Thus far, many have enjoyed the intimate setting at the SJ fairgrounds.
“Overall, the atmosphere here is a lot like small groups of (FFA and 4H Club) families,” said Weston Ranch High advisor Greg Bridges.
His fellow advisors Tristyn Silva (MHS), Kristen Buck (East Union) and John Hopper (East Union) agreed. For the most part, they’ve wiled away the time playing cards and other interactive games or just engage around in conversation.
Students such as May preferred the fair crowds.
“It’s boring not having people stop by (the pen) to look at your livestock project,” she said. “I think we’ve only had one (non-Ag) person stop by.”
La Due was showing a white Holland turkey and was OK with year’s AgFest setup.
“It’s nice that (AgFest) wasn’t crowded,” she said.
The fair also included horse racing. AgFest, however, featured an exhibition of equines coupled with the various riding styles in the Ag Pavillion.
These were winners of the June 7 Exposition of 4-H Horse Champions.
In addition, AgFest offered plenty of parking for obvious reasons. Cost is $5 but admission to the fairgrounds is free.
“We have assigned parking,” said Silva.
AgFest concludes today with an auction for swine, dairy, turkey, beef, sheep, goat, rabbit and birds.
For more information, log on to www.sanjoaquinagfest.com.