Thursday, September 13, 2018

"Livestock" Exhibits ... So To Speak

The "livestock" exhibits were my favorites at the Kansas State Fair.
OK, they were "live." But these creatures don't exactly fit in the traditional definition of "livestock."

ˈlīvˌstäk      noun: livestock
  1. farm animals regarded as an asset.

    "markets for the trading of livestock"
Well, maybe butterflies could be considered an asset on the farm. They are certainly a treasure to the senses, especially a beautiful Monarch, which ended up looking like stained glass as it spread its wings in the sunlight.
For the record, Randy did go to the livestock barns while I was in a Kansas Master Farm Homemaker Guild executive meeting. It was a "changing of the guard" day in the beef pavilion that day. One breed had been judged, and others were likely on their way to the Hutchinson fairgrounds. But there wasn't a lot of action in the traditional livestock barns on Tuesday.
But Randy liked this "livestock," too. He was much more successful in attracting butterflies to his sugar-soaked "feeder." Before entering the Butterfly Experience tent, each visitor is given a paint sponge dipped in diluted Gatorade. Holding the sponge in front of a butterfly allows it to step on and taste the juice with their feet. OK, truth be told, I was probably too busy clicking away with the camera to give the feeding thing much of a shot.
This pretty pink plant seemed as popular to butterflies as the fair's Pronto Pup stand to a team of hungry football players.
The Butterfly Experience is new to the Kansas State Fair. It's an inflatable tent, which promoters say has three different kinds of butterflies. Randy and I only saw Monarchs. But we weren't complaining.
(If you're going to the fair, the Butterfly Experience is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. It's near Lake Talbott, south of the 4-H Building. The exhibit is free, but donations are accepted to purchase milkweeds that assist in the Monarch’s migration.)

Butterflies weren't the only things flying at the fair that day. American flags were flying since it was Patriot's Day - the 17th anniversary of 9-11. It was also Kansas Master Farmer - Master Farm Homemaker Day at the Kansas State Fair.

During our noon meeting, three of our Kansas Master Farmers were honored by the Quilts of Valor program, whose mission is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts.
Robert Edwards, Olsburg, served in the U.S. Army from 1953-55 during the Korean Conflict. His quilt was made by Master Homemaker Barbara Rezac.
Henry Ericson, Fort Scott, gave his service to the U.S. Army from 1953-55, also during the Korean Conflict. His quilt was made by his wife, Doris.
Richard Reinhardt, Erie, was an instructor pilot, training other pilots who also served the U.S. Armed Forces. His quilt was made by Master Homemaker Jeri Albright. He's pictured here with his wife, Linda, and family members.
Paula Blasi, Bob Edwards, Barbara Rezac, Anita Davis
Master Farm Homemaker, Anita Davis (far right), has made sure Master Farmer veterans have been recognized for their military service by awarding handmade Quilts of Valor. These were the latest three to be honored in this way.  (Several other Master Farmer families contributed funds for making the quilts.)
Our group was treated to the grandstand show, Roots and Boots, featuring Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye and Aaron Tippin.  Tippin broke out his red, white and blue guitar for his hit, "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly." It earned him a Patriot's Day standing ovation.
Even though we didn't ride any rides, I couldn't resist taking a photo from the grandstand before we left after the concert.

One other highlight of the day was seeing the 2nd place ribbon on one of my photo entries in the Kansas Wheat contest.  None of my other photos placed in the regular divisions, but I was thrilled to be a ribbon winner!
All in all, a great day at the Kansas State Fair, even if my feet were tired. Back when I was a reporter at The Hutchinson News, I'd spend all day, every day of the 10-day run at the fairgrounds. I was obviously much younger then!


  1. Congratulations on your prize winning photo! Fair time is so much fun, I agree! I never experienced something like that Butterfly Experience, but it sounds really neat.

    1. For years, I couldn't enter the Kansas Wheat contest because Randy was on the board of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. It was fun to be able to participate.

  2. I like the angle of the photo and the dark vs. light. Congrats!

    1. Thank you! It's fun to experiment with photography. People only see the best shots here. There are always a bunch that aren't so good. Randy is thankful for the advent of digital photography!

  3. A butterfly experience tent! That is a wonderful inclusion in a State fair.
    Well done on your ribbon! I really like that photo and it is a very deserving placegetter.

    1. The butterflies were definitely a highlight. Monarchs usually start coming through our area about this time as they migrate to Mexico. Perhaps we'll see some "in the wild" soon.

  4. Lots to comment on in this lovely post. First your lovely new header. The butterfly experience looked awesome. The honouring of veterans gave me goosebumps and congratulations on your 2nd place. The winner must hve been brilliant. The feet might not move as swiftly as you want but you are still young in heart.

    1. Thank you, Helen! Interestingly, the first-place winner was also a Stafford County resident. She does some professional photography, too. There were many quality shots, so I am honored.

      It's always inspiring to see the veterans honored in this way.

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