Calves at the Fair!

We had a very exciting morning here at FairView Farms. One of our lovely cows gave birth to TWINS, born an hour apart from each other! We arrived on the scene around 11:30 a.m. so they were still slightly slimy and a little dazed and confused, but they were already trying to stand up and wobble around in the hay. Resident cowboy Sky Shivers said birthing twins is very rare so we’re lucky we were able to see it.

One boy. One girl. Two bundles of cute fun :) If you’re visiting the Fair make sure you stop by the Big Red Barn and say hello to our newest Fair friends!

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Meet Max’s Barn Animal Friends

While we love our cows, goats and sheep, it’s always fun to make a new friend or two at the Fair. This year we have a brand new show called Max’s Barn Animal Friends and they are a “hoot” (pun intended).

When you think of farm animals you typically think of your pigs, horses and other domesticated animals. What we tend to forget are the wild animals that not only help farm life, but also make the outskirts of the barn their home! We met some of them today and they were more than willing to pose for the camera.

Jasper, the Fennec Fox

 

Gizmo the Barn Owl

Rosy the Rose-haired Tarantula

A little opossum


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Lily’s Sheep Emporium

The Big Red Barn at FairView Farms is packed with all sorts of adventures! One of the fun shows we have is Lily’s Sheep Emporium, where you can learn all about sheep shearing. Take a sit on one of our bales of hay and learn about the different types of wool there are and the whys and hows of sheep shearing.

What’s your  favorite thing to do at FairView Farms?

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Did You Know Angora Goats’ Wool Makes Mohair Sweaters?

Neither did I! But after spending a morning with Sky Shivers, the handlebar-mustached Oklahoman cowboy/farmer who coordinates the Fair’s popular FairView Farms, I learned a lot of things. And so will you after visiting the Farm. Sky and his “posse” have really boosted the educational foundation of the Farm but you’re having so much fun, you don’t even realize how much you are learning. And isn’t that the best learning of all?

Here’s the scoop: baby goats, sheep and miniature pigs are the stars of the baby animal show inside The Big Red Barn. Bales of hay serve as seating in front of a little stage where a member of Sky’s posse will teach Fairguests how to take care of orphaned animals. The stage setting is repeated throughout various locations of the Barn for several different shows on many different topics like goat milking and sheep shearing.

One of the really cool aspects of the Farm’s education process is the continuity factor. In the cattle pen you’ll see a 1-year-old red heifer named Freedom. Freedom was born here at the Farm last year on Sept. 11. She returns this year as a “teenage girl” and will return next year as a “woman,” ready to have a baby (hopefully here at the Fair). “It’s part of the cycle we want to teach and show  Fairguests,” said Sky.

A cool new animal the Farm has this year is the Caspian horse. The Caspian is the oldest breed of recognizable horse in the world. Sky said they were thought to be extinct but were discovered by a woman in the 1980s, on the banks of the Caspian Sea. “There are only 300 Caspians horses in the United States and 900 total in the world today.” The Caspians are diminutive in stature but colossal in spirit. The horses that you often see heading the chariots in Egyptian hieroglyphics are Caspian horses.

Sky said he believes visitors are going to enjoy the expanded educational programming at the Farm. One of his favorite new areas is the hay baling barn. Sky built an exact replica of a 1896 Sears and Roebuck baler that kids will get to use to bale hay for use in FairView Farms.

And, of course, there are animals, animals, animals! A Dorper lamb was born early Wednesday with many more baby animals expected to make their appearance into the world during the Fair. When we were talking about sheep, Sky mentioned that while the wool industry has suffered from the use of synthetic wool, the U.S. Army chooses to use sheep’s wool in soldiers outfits to protect them in cases of fire from roadside bombings. Synthetic wool burns quickly, sticking to skin. Real, 100 % wool self-extinguishes and could be the difference between minimal injury and third-degree burns.

One other new animal you can see in the Farm is the Zebu – the smallest breed of cattle. It is one of 28 breeds of Brahma cattle from India. Our Zebu is a year old and looks like a calf.

Didn’t I tell you there was so much to learn? And these are just a few of the wonderful things in FairView Farms. When you think about it, us cityfolk know very little about farm life, agriculture, the animals that feed us and clothe us and help sustain the world. Now I’m going back out to the Farm to commune with my barnyard friends.

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Pomona Kids Dig What’s Growing at FairView Farms

Did you know carrots aren’t just orange? They can be black (actually deep purple), pink, and white. And mint can come in all kinds of flavors, including chocolate mint. Imagine, a candy bar in a leaf … delish!

That’s just what about 50 kids from Pomona Hope, a local non-profit community organization, learned when they visited FarmView Farms’ garden at Fairplex on Tuesday afternoon. 

FairView Farms not only spotlights agriculture, but will feature Western Days & Rodeo Nights with all kinds of fast-paced action at this year’s L.A. County Fair, Sept. 4-Oct. 3. 

Emily Peine, director of programs at Pomona Hope Community Center, organized the field trip. Pomona Hope has its own community garden in which the children help out, all under the supervision of lead gardener Drew Rushlow, who helped set up the visit. 

Don DeLano, Fairplex landscape supervisor, led a tour through the garden for the children and their teen and adult leaders. The group saw an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables growing on the 1/4-acre farm – lots of lettuces, herbs (thyme, dill, tarragon, chives, and more), radishes, peppers, chili peppers, eggplant, tomatoes (of all colors and sizes), squash, peaches, olives, and so much more. 

Many of those vegetables became ingredients for the al fresco dinner the group enjoyed after the tour. David Tieg, head chef at McKinley’s Grill at the Fairplex Sheraton, regularly harvests seasonal fruits and vegetables from the garden to offer the freshest ingredients on his diverse restaurant menu. 

Garden guests enjoyed grilled eggplant, squash and tomatoes; a green salad packed with just-harvested veggies and a tomato salad using several varieties of the red fruit; carnitas; hand-made corn tortillas grilled on the spot; refried beans and rice; all topped off by a peach crisp dessert using juicy fruits right off of trees in the FairView Farms orchard. 

Not only were little tummies full of delicious fresh foods by the end of the evening, young minds were full of ideas for their own gardens.

See more photos of all the fun on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lacountyfair.

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70 Days ‘Til Pure.Fun.

blue-logo-with-datesHoly cow! Does the counter on the L.A. County Fair website really say 70 days until the Fair?! Yes, it does. That’s only 1,680 hours away (actually, about 1,677). And have we got a show in store for you! We are so excited about the new attractions, Fair favorites (Hot Dog on a Stick! I haven’t had one since last year’s Fair), the carnival and especially our new layout! Our grounds have received an extreme makeover and we can’t wait for you to see it.

All the elements you love about the Fair will still be here. We moved the carnival closer to the center of the Fair and shifted all the shopping to a centralized location in the buildings and the adjoining tree-lined streets. Yellow gate (the one closest to the carnival) will move in a little closer and a special shuttle will jet (well, if you can “jet” at 5 mph) shopping-crazed guests to the shopping area. Basically, we are just moving things in a bit for easier navigation for our guests.

On the attrajurassicctions side we have knights and castles in America’s Kids, a whole new Pirate show in A Pirate’s Life, dinosaurs are roaming the Fair once more in Jurassic Planet (but this time they are ANGRY and they want out!) and Western Days and Rodeo Nights in FairView Farms.

The End of Summer Concert Series will rock your socks off. Acts will be announced July 12.

There are a ton of discounts, we have a wonderfully priced season pass. Drop by and see me, the Fair-ey Blogster. Whatever you do, do not miss the 2010 L.A. County Fair!! It is totally Pure.Fun.

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Yaks, Donkeys and Goats, Oh My!

gidgetthedonkeyOne of my favorite spots at the Fair, probably my most favorite spot, is FairView Farms and the Big Red Barn®. There is something serene about communing with the cows, goats and all the other critters that inhabit the farm. During the Fair we have our resident cowboy Sky Shivers who comes from his home in Oklahoma to care for the farm. He spends everyday at the farm, educating visitors about animals (like Gidget, left, the miniature Sicilian donkey) and agriculture, and the parts they play in life around the globe. He is a well of knowledge. Hang around the farm and you will learn some things you never knew before.

This year Sky has several new exhibits and attractions in the farm:

According to Sky the goal of FairView Farms is to educate people about the reality of the animal world. That includes interesting facts like, in some cultures, every part of the hog “except the squeal” is used for food. That makes the hog the perfect animal, said Sky, because it is 100 percent consummable.  Another fact: 96 percent of a car is made from animal by-products.

What can you expect to see in FairView Farms this year? The nursery is being expanded and will include such unusual critters as a baby water buffalo, baby yaks and baby miniature donkeys – all along with their moms. The entertainment barn will have goat milking. You can milk a goat then move over to the goat barn and see an expert make butter, cottage cheese and ice cream using the goat milk! See, we are very self-sustaining here at the Fair – nothing goes to waste!

There will be a miniature pony exhibit, expanded pig races and Amegiantdonkeyrican Mammoth donkeys (pictured right). The donkeys were first brought to the United States as a gift from the King of Spain for George Washington. Washington let the Colonists use and breed the donkeys and, voila, the American Mammoth donkey was born. These donkeys tend to be about 14 hands high (one hand=4 inches) but can go up to 16 hands high.

So, stop by FairView Farms. It’s edu-tainment at its best!

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Ice Cream… Anyone??

I love food – I can’t help it! When I’m eating I think about how soft_serve_icecreamdelicious it is and when I am not eating I am planning my next meal.

I have to say that working on this year’s L.A. County Fair is not helping much. All of this food talk just makes me hungrier. Whenever someone mentions the Fair all I can think about is vanilla soft serve with caramel and sprinkles. I know it’s a little lame considering all of the other fried goodies we have to choose from, but I’ll take soft serve any day of the week – sometimes twice! What can I say – I love Dairy!

Needless to say with my love for Dairy comes one of my favorite competitions of the year – the Los Angeles International Dairy Competition! Last year was my first competition and I have never seen so much ice cream, cheese, milk, butter, yogurt, or sour cream outside of a grocery store! I have to say – it was a magnificent sight! It’s only April and I can’t wait for this year’s competition and it’s in August!

I’m not an official judge or anything – especially since I have never met an ice cream I didn’t like, but just taking part in the competition is gallons of fun. The best part is that the winners of the competition will be on display in FairView Farms for all to see… just follow Daisy to the pink and brown aisle!

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Hello, Have You Met My Friend the 1,400 Lb. Angus Cow?

Well, you must come to the L.A. County Fair to do so. She and two of her friends arrived at FairView Farms today bursting with life – literally! The three – two Black Angus and one Red – are expecting. With a little luck, they will deliver during Fair hours, which will provide our Fairguests with an amazing experience to see nature take its course right before our eyes!

The three Angus cows are on loan from Cal Poly Pomona. I happened to be in FairView Farms when they arrived this morning. They were easily herded into their large pen by FairView Farms’ resident cowboy and all-round agriculture guru Sky Shivers and his staff.

Other animals are already in FairView Farms, waiting to offer an agricultural adventure beyond compare. The goats are in place, as are the sheep, some pigs and quite a few of the cutest puppies I’ve ever seen!

So, three more days! Mark your calendar, grab the camera. It’s almost time for the Big Show…

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