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Berrien County Youth Fair kicks off Monday

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. -- The 73rd annual Berrien County Youth Fair begins Monday at the Berrien County Fairgrounds. 

Fair officials say a lot of behind-the-scenes work is required to get everything ready for the fair. 

Karen Klug, the executive director of the Berrien County Youth Fair, said over 70 committees work year round to make this week run smoothly. Klug said families can fine a wide range of exhibitors, games, rides, and food at this year's fair. 

"They can expect all the great things they expect every year," said Klug. "To see old friends, to get a corn dog or an elephant ear, to see some of our entertainment." 

Gates open at 7:30 a.m. each morning and close at 10 p.m. Information on ticket pricing can be found here

Youth Exhibitors:

During fair week, children of all ages show animals. Anyone aged five through 20 can compete. 

Some of the animals featured at the youth exhibits include pigs, chickens, cows, sheep, and llamas. 

Youth competitors said they raise their animals for months at a time. Each morning and night they feed, bathe, and walk their pigs. Kids add this experience taught them many lessons like where their food comes from and the importance of hard work. 

"It's a lot of fun," said Emilee Demski, "She's really lazy, like when we feed her, she just sits down and eats. She doesn't even get up. You have to put time into it. You have to work hard to do it."

Demski said pigs love to eat candy corn and marshmallows. 

Grandstand Entertainment: 

Fairgoers can also expect lots of entertainment at the fair. 

The tractor pull is the first event to kickoff the Grandstand Entertainment. It starts at 7 p.m. Monday. Tickets start at $11 and can be bought online or at the gate. 

"From what we understand, over 50 tractors and should be a really good show," said Patrick Freehling. "They replaced the tracks of a brand new tractor. They're going to be running on and we have all the equipment ready. Hope to see everyone out there." 

Other events throughout the week include a circus, concert by country duo Locash, car and truck demolitions, and a rodeo. 

"It's the last thing to do before you go back to school," said Mike Young. "You can go see the circus or they're the types of folks that want to go see the bull riding or there's people that when we put our tickets on sale in April, they wait in line for hours or a couple of folks overnight, because that's just what they do." 

Information on times and ticket pricing for each event can be found here

Wonders of Birth: 

An exhibit at the fair allows fairgoers to witness animals give birth. 

Dana Lee, who runs the Wonders of Birth Barn, said the barn is supposed to educated children and adults about animal creation and reproduction. 

Lee said there are baby chickens, goats, lambs, llamas, horses, peacocks, cows, and alpacas in the barn this year. 

Lee said no matter the animal, seeing an animal give birth is amazing. 

"Babies are so energetic and fun to watch and they're able to watch the animals be born and the baby chicks be hatched and they're all running around and it makes a lot of people laugh," said Lee. 

Royalty Court: 

The 2018 Berrien County Youth Fair Royalty Court was crowned on Friday, 

This year's queen is Kennedy Melton. Arthur "AJ" Jillson is the fair's king. 

"I wanted to run for fair king just because many of the members of my 4-H club have ran for fair king or queen, so I just wanted to kind of keep that tradition up," said Jillson. "Also, my sister was fair queen last year, so I had to follow her footsteps. I had to do at least as good as her." 

Sarah Jackemeyer and Jackson Hall are the runner ups to the queen and king. 

Rounding out the royalty court are Taylor Kirk and Daniel Goss. They're this year's princess and prince.  

"It's like super fun and you get to talk to people and you have more of a personality if you do all of this kind of stuff," said Kirk. 








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