I missed the State Fair last year because I was in Texas waiting for a grandbaby to be born. Coming back to the fair this year I decided that I wanted to change my display. The fair offers Marketing Awards for each species for those who put some effort into the displays that are with their livestock. I put a lot of thought and effort into this and Farm Club members also helped with some of the behind the scenes stuff as well as being there every day of the fair.This is what the main part of the display looked like. I used rusty tin (and I didn’t have to do the DIY TV shows’ trick of using acid on perfectly new tin to make it look that way) for the background as well as additional signage over the sheep pens. I focused on Farm Club and the idea of local marketing of wool, lamb and promoting consumer education while many of the other sheep exhibitors primarily promote marketing breeding stock.
Part of marketing is using social media and the award description even specified use of QR codes. There is this blog, Rusty’s blog, a Meridian Jacobs Facebook page, MJ Ravelry group, a MJ YouTube channel and even Pinterest and Instagram (which I didn’t put on the sign). This is the fifth or sixth year that I have provided pregnant ewes for the Nursery that is managed by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. This doesn’t have anything to do with the Marketing Award, but the people at the vet school are so appreciative of this that I continue to do it.Isadora, one of the new mom’s would probably rather be home, but she really has it rather nice at the fair–always plenty of food and a blowing fan when it is getting very hot.
I think our CA State Fair has a lot going for it. I did not do my regular pre-sheep-show visit to the fair because of our trip to Texas and the work to get ready, but I looked at a few other parts while I was there. At the other end of the barn there are the longhorns. I am afraid that this is a dying breed–not the cattle, but the people who bring them to the fair. There are only a few exhibitors left now and I hope that someone else will choose to show them because they are always fun to see.Same with sheep, right?I always like to see the part they call the Farm. We have modeled some of our garden ideas from what we have seen here. No reason to throw out tires when they can be used to grow vegies. They had a stack of three for potatoes which I thought was very clever. At harvest time just pull off the tires.I took this photo for my husband. In the Counties Exhibit Hall I saw this cycling jersey promoting the Tour de Manure.Back at the barn, I love to see the beautiful Clydesdales. They make my yearling ram look rather small.
The fair runs for three weeks and the sheep are in the nursery for the whole time. But the sheep show is only four days. Good thing because it is exhausting talking to so many people. The moderate weather for the last week of the fair contributed to record crowds. I had to bring additional panels to “protect” the rams from people being too close and not reading the “Do not pet rams. Do not grab horns.” sign.
Of course the point of going to the fair is to show sheep although my focus is on the marketing award because it’s hard to compete in classes with many breeds of sheep. Those are my two yearling rams.
I won the Marketing Award as well as Herdsman and Best Program directed at the General Public. I found out later that I also won the Marketing Award over all the livestock species for the full run of the fair! I can’t say thank you enough to Farm Club and a couple of other friends who helped at the fair. I couldn’t do this without you.A successful few days, but all of us were glad to go home.