This weekend the Ninilchik Fairground is the site of the Kenai Peninsula Fair, providing an opportunity for local livestock-raising families and rodeo-riders to display their animals and skills.
The fair’s livestock showing began Friday with the judging of smaller animals — poultry, sheep, and pigs — while larger livestock such as horses and cows were judged on Saturday. Members of the Kenai Peninsula 4-H club guided their animals into an arena pen, where they paraded them in front of judges. On Friday evening, 4-H’ers used canes to nudge their pigs into line while adult volunteers wielding plywood sheets blocked out-of-control animals and broke up the occasional pig-fight.
4-H club member Katya Correa won a blue ribbon for her medium-weight pig Storm.
“I’ve been in 4-H showing pigs for 6 years,” Correa said. “The fair is my favorite part, and just being able to raise the pigs and show them is fun.”
Storm came from a pig breeder in California, and Correa said she fed him according to a routine: every day at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Storm received a full bucket of food. The exercise required to turn that food into meat was up to Storm.
“We had a big outside pen,” Correa said. “They exercise themselves pretty much.”
After the Friday judging, Correa said her pig would be marketed Saturday.
4-H club member Ella Rankin brought her pair of geese, Mister and Missus, for Friday’s poultry showcase. Judging required the birds to stand still on a table while being be examined.
“Sometimes he gets so excited he jumps off the table,” Rankin said of Mister.
Rankin said Mister weighed 13 pounds, but was still far from his full-grown weight, which she guessed would be 35 pounds. She described her geese as free-range, but said they do not wander far, instead preferring to splash in a shallow pond. Although normally calm, the geese tend to be stimulated by the surrounding people and animals at the fair. As for herself, Rankin said the judging gave her a similar mix of nervousness and excitement.
“It’s like a freaky Christmas,” Rankin said of the poultry show.
Friday’s fair also included two rodeo events: barrel-racing and calf-roping. The Kenai Peninsula Fair is the penultimate event of the Alaska Rodeo summer program, which ends September 5 with a competition in Palmer. The summer-long rodeo series also included Soldotna’s Progress Days rodeo.
The fair concludes Sunday with further rodeo events, performances by musicians Washboard Willy and Lloyd, Alaskan Native singer Byron Nikolai, and magician Steve the Pretty Good.