By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Entrants gearing up for county fair

"One of them is unique," the Yamhill woman said. "And I finished the other, so I decided what the heck, I'll enter it too."

She made the unique quilt for a friend with a long history of showing sheep. "She had a whole box of ribbons, all different colors, so I made them into a quilt," Foote said.

She sewed the ribbons together with a background fabric featuring realistic looking sheep. The quilt is backed with another sheep fabric, this one more whimsical.

Foote's quilt has been on display at the Villas retirement center, where her friend lives. It's going back there after the fair, hopefully bearing a ribbon from the Yamhill County Fair & Rodeo.

Foote plans to spend some time at the fair, which runs through Saturday, checking out all the entries in the A-dec Building — textiles, crafts, photos, preserves and baked goods entered by people of all ages, plus an assortment of items created by young 4-H members.

She'll be among thousands of people attending the county's biggest event, which also features 4-H and FFA members showing off their animals, along with flower and vegetable displays, all sorts of crafts and food items made by folks from all over the county, three rodeo shows, a demolition derby and a variety of entertainment, including concerts by big-name artists such as John Michael Montgomery and Quiet Riot.

The fair opens at 10 a.m. daily. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for youngsters, although children 12 and younger get in free if they arrive before 3 p.m. Parking runs $3 per car.

The fairgrounds complex in north McMinnville is already swarming with people preparing for Wednesday's opening. They've been working for weeks to get everything ready.

On Saturday, members of the Bacon Bits & Friends 4-H Club from Newberg were getting things set up in the small animal barn. During the fair, the barn will be filled with cages holding rabbits, chickens and pigeons.

Club member Kasie Stahlnecker, 11, breeds her own pigeons and rabbits for the fair show. She has two breeds of rabbit: Californians, which are large and prized for their meat, and Polish, the second-smallest breed.

Kasie said she especially likes showing the Polish rabbits.

"They're compact and pose nicely, and I like their personalities," she said. "They can be sweet and kind. I can just sit and hold one for hours."

Fellow club member Kaitlin Davis, 17, also shows pigeons and rabbits, as well as chickens, ducks and meat and fiber goats. And she enters the archery competition.

"The animal part is my favorite now," Kaitlin said. "I want to be an ag teacher, because I love working with kids and animals."

Kaitlin, whose mother is a teacher, already has been getting experience with her future career. She has taken animals to her school, Country Faith Christian Academy near Newberg, where she works with younger students.

"Kids can relate to animals," she said.

She's looking forward to the fair because she'll have a chance to show her animals to more children.

Larry Rucker of McMinnville spent part of the day at the photography venue, where he will be competing.

Rucker said he got interested in photography years ago, but found the darkroom process daunting. With the advent of digital cameras, he began to enjoy making pictures again and joined a local photography club.

He specializes in landscapes, parades and "striking light dimensions." He said, "I carry a camera everywhere."

Rucker devotes one morning a week to searching for subjects. "There's no single definition of what inspires me," he said.

He's humble about his work, though he has a winning record. Last year, he won five ribbons, including the People's Choice and the Fair Ambassador awards.

"I"m not confident I'll win anything this year, but I thought I'd try," he said.

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