MUNCIE, Ind. — Thousands of families and school groups
traveled through Delaware County Fairgrounds for the annual Farm Festival March
Nose to nose with goats, sheep and even a donkey, kids had
the chance to see what agriculture looked like up close. Purdue University master gardeners
taught students how to have a green thumb when it comes to planting seeds, and
piles of hay bales served as a playground.
“We had a good turnout yesterday and today,” said Mark
Smithson, chairman for the festival. “We’ve had more than 2,500 schoolchildren —
it’s been very busy. We had a benefit auction and had the greatest number of
bidders we’ve ever had.”
The festival has been going on for 36 years. It’s designed
to teach kids about agriculture in a fun, interactive way.
Booth vendors handed out educational materials for students
to take home. Participants could try kettle corn, milk a cow, pet a horse and
watch a sheep being sheared.
“They love watching sheep ‘take their coat off,’” Smithson
The fair is primarily designed for urban folks to learn
about agriculture, he added.
A group of farmers and fans also gathered to listen to
meteorologist Paul Poteet discuss weather patterns.
Although it’s been an unusually snowy winter, that doesn’t
necessarily mean that the weather this summer will be extreme, as well, he said.
“Most of the seasons where we’ve had a really cold or snowy
winter, we’ve either had a neutral drought index or slightly more moisture in
parts of the state,” Poteet said.
“As far as cause and effect of what might happen to crops
this season, if you go by this analog of what has happened before, then there is
no particular threat that it will suddenly snap back in the other direction of a
really hot summer. We could have a really cool summer.”