Governor’s Day: Carney rules the roost at Delaware State Fair

 

Gov. John Carney looks at a prized rooster during a tour of the Poultry Barn at Governors Day at the Delaware State Fair on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — At his first Governor’s Day at the Delaware State Fair as governor, John Carney marveled at prize-winning livestock, competed in an egg toss with the Miss Delaware runner-up and presented awards to several Delawareans who had contributed to the fair.

Governor’s Day is traditionally the last Thursday of the fair, allowing the governor a chance to take part in games and see the fair’s main attractions. This year was no exception.

Gov. Carney, accompanied by an entourage of about 15 people, spent the entire day at the fair, greeting dozens of Delawareans — many of whom were eager to take a photo with the governor — throughout the day.

His day began at 9 a.m., as he toured the 4-H & FFA Building, which featured more than 9,800 handmade projects on display. Wreaths, baked goods, crafts, photographs, plants and other things made, cooked or grown by 4-H and FFA members sat on neat tables throughout the large building.

Accompanied by, among others, Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse, several pageant winners and his wife, Tracey, the governor stopped to look at many individual items, asking questions to the 4-H and FFA members leading the tour.

Gov. John Carney, right, walks with Delaware State Fair Poultry Supervisor Mike Waski, left, and Governor’s Day Chair Ken McDowell, center, during a tour of the Poultry Barn at the Delaware State Fair on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

The tour was followed by a watermelon eating contest, although Gov. Carney did not appear especially enthused about trying to finish a slice of the fruit as fast as he could: He took his time, only managing a few bites while many of the much younger competitors around him plowed right through their watermelon.

Gov. John Carney talks with Miss Laurel Brendyn VanDerslice, center, and Miss Mar-Del Watermelon Queen Connor Vincent, right, during a tour of the Poultry Barn during Governors Day at the Delaware State Fair on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

The egg toss was more in line with the former Ivy League defensive back’s interests. Competing with Miss Delaware runner-up Emily Beale (Miss Delaware 2017 Chelsea Bruce was in Florida with Nicole Hannah, who is taking part as Delaware’s representative in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen), the governor was one of the last participants eliminated.

Starting an arm’s length from one another and backing up several feet after every throw, Gov. Carney and Ms. Beale made it until they were about 25 feet away, when the egg cracked as Ms. Beale attempted to catch it.

From there, the group saw more arts and crafts in the Dover Building and the governor handed certificates and ribbons to 10 Delawareans. One man was honored for crafting a wooden bowl from a fallen tree, while a woman was singled out for growing blue-ribbon vegetables and another man was recognized for bringing vegetables to the fair for 80 years.

Gov. Carney introduced himself to a visitor as “your governor, unless you live in Maryland.”

It was one of many conversations he had with fairgoers throughout the day, including several children who were eager to show off their prize-winning cows and pigs.

The governor appeared to enjoy the relatively light atmosphere — a welcome break after a difficult legislative session that ended about three weeks ago.

Lexi Kern, 8, holds a baby chick in the Poultry Barn at the Delaware Sate Fair on Thursday.( Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

According to his public schedules, Thursday was his sixth visit to the fair this year. He’s slated to be back there again tomorrow, the second-to-last day.

“It’s pretty special. What I’m learning is it’s not as much about the governor as it is about the people who are part of agriculture in our state, and it’s an opportunity for me as governor to talk to people and meet with people and see all the things going on, learn more about that history and legacy and it just kind of underscores the importance of protecting and preserving agricultural lands and that kind of way of life,” he said.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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