Mendocino County Fair fun in Boonville this weeken
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Mendocino County Fair fun in Boonville this weekend By TIFFANY REVELLE Updated:
09/14/2013 11:53:24 PM PDT
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There were at least 20 varieties of apples for sampling at the booth the Gowans Oak Tree and Philo Apple Farm shared inside the Agricultural Building during the 86th annual Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show Saturday. [b][url=http://www.outlettiffanyonline.com]cheap tiffany & co jewelry[/url][/b]
"Each variety was bred for a different purpose," said Katie Norton, who works at the Philo Apple Farm, which, she added, grows 80 different heirloom varieties. "There are apples for ciders, there are some for baking, and there are keepers that can stay a while in stores."[b][url=http://www.outlettiffanyonline.com]tiffany jewelry outlet[/url][/b]
Apple season runs from as early as late-July to mid-November, and the ones on-hand during the weekend of the fair are the ones that are most plentiful at the moment. Even so, taste-testers were only allowed to buy two apples at the booth, and were encouraged to visit the farms for further purchase. As one volunteer put it, the samples were to "tease and educate."[b][url=http://www.outlettiffanyonline.com]tiffany silver[/url][/b]
There was a lot more than apples in store for those who ventured out to the fair, which started Friday and continues through midnight today.[b][url=http://www.outlettiffanyonline.com]tiffany silver[/url][/b]
As with any fair, there was the standard selection of tri-tip, hamburgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, ice cream and all manner of fried foods. Children of all ages (1 through 92) boarded rides and browsed the booths of vendors selling everything from lollipops to hand-made jewelry.
Children in 4-H clubs and Future Farmers of America showed the animals they raise and earned points for their hard work. Cowboys and girls showed off their calf-roping, barrel-racing and bronc-riding skills in the fairgrounds' arena for judges and everyone else to see.
There were photographs, paintings, quilts, baked goods and even a hand-crafted fishing boat on display, among other varieties of the county's best craftsmanship for fair-goers to appreciate.
Unique to Boonville's annual fair is the Wool and Fiber Festival and fleece auction, now in its 16th year. One can walk into the fairgrounds' Commercial building and easily see the progression of how wool gets to the marketplace, starting with a sheep shearing demonstration.
"My wife can always tell I've been shearing by how soft my hands are," Matthew Gilbert of Mendocino Wool And Fiber told an audience that had gathered to watch him relieve a black sheep of its fleece.
The sheep relaxed through the whole ordeal, then seemed to bleat in gratitude when Gilbert was done, and stood patiently while people came up to pet it. Gilbert explained that the leftover wool on the animal felt greasy because sheep produce lanolin -- similar to the oil a person's skin secretes -- which is used in many moisturizers.
"It's hard to build up calluses during sheep-shearing season," joked Gilbert, who has been shearing sheep for 13 years. He also shears llamas, alpacas and goats, he told the audience.
He fielded questions, including how he avoids the animals' "tender parts," what he does during hot weather, how often he nicks an animal's skin and what kind of wool is the best variety.
Finer wool makes less itchy clothing, he said, but not necessarily the best wool, depending on how it's used. Coarser wool is easier and faster to shear, Gilbert said.
"The finest wools tend to be more valuable," he said, "but sometimes you don't want fine, you want coarser."
Sitting nearby was Deanna Thomas of Flynn Creek Churros Natural Wool. She used her feet to turn a spinning wheel while working a strand of medium-brown wool through her fingers and onto a spool.
"I'm spinning a fat yarn, and I'm going to ply it with this," she said, pointing to a spool full of a lighter brown yarn, "and I'm going to make a hat -- a nice, big cap."
Across the aisle from her was Wendy Clisham of Albion, who was demonstrating a hand-cranked sock knitter for loose groups of onlookers who gathered to watch.
The fair opens at 8:30 a.m. today. Sheep dog trials and classic car show judging are at 10 a.m. A petting zoo, pony rides and other attractions are available, along with a noon parade on Highway 128 to the rodeo arena. The rodeo begins at 2 p.m., and buildings close at 10 p.m. Gates close at 1 a.m.
Tiffany Revelle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @TiffanyRevelle or at 468-3523. Print
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