State Fair puts focus on youngsters

Dawson Mitchell of Camden cleans his Market Lamb before livestock competition at the Delaware State Fair. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

HARRINGTON — A day free of admission for kids 12 years old and younger was full of educational and enjoyable events held specifically for the younger portion of Delaware’s fairgoers on Tuesday.

The Delaware State Fair is known for its multiple agriculturally educational programs and tents, however today was dedicated to the healthy food that is produced from that agriculture.

The Healthy Kids Health Fair held a series of vendors from various food programs to demonstrate healthy eating habits as well as giveaways of free items to promote the encouragement of healthy food choices.

Lena Berry of Wyoming with her Border Leicester lamb named Sprot in the Kent Building.

Logan Toltowicz, 9, claims that the giveaways were his favorite part of the festival.

“I like all the stuff I got. I got a pen with a fidget spinner!” Logan’s exclamation was one of many children as they stepped into the fair.

The summer food service program presented by Caesar Rodney School District handed out free snacks to the children at the festival including some healthy options for the hot summer day.

Supervisor Paul Rodgers led the tent in hopes to promote the program and its availability to the community.

“Our child nutrition program, in the last 3 years, has expanded leaps and bounds. I mean, we’re serving a thousand more kids per day than before,” he said.

The effort to feed children outside of a school’s confines grows as Caesar Rodney joins the Summer Food Service Program.

“This summer we’ve had 19 sites and we have our Lunch Bus that goes around the community and kids get to go on the bus and we serve kids lunches off of that.” said Mr. Rodgers. “The summer program, the after school snack program, all of these types of activities we take part of, they’re all creating jobs.“

So far, the program has been able to provide meals to an average of 3,000 kids a week within the district.

The ideas of the program are being expanded as they look into potentially opening a dinner program as well as serving pizza on plates within frisbees so that the children have a meal and a fun toy for afterwards to keep them active and healthy.

The University of Delaware’s Cooperative extension also got in on some of the healthy action as they promoted their 4H Youth Development program that ensures healthy living. Family and Consumer Sciences representative Nancy Mears focuses on the concept of “My Plate” so kids know how to improve their meals.

“The stand also incorporates the main meal components, focusing on the importance of protein and specifically the poultry industry,” Ms. Mears said.

The stand uniquely captured children’s attention as the essential component of protein was demonstrated by a participant’s chicken costume.

From healthy eating to expressing creativity, the children were also granted the opportunity to participate in a Cake Mix competition.

Spectators Becky and Ava Robinson watch the Junior Fitting Grand Champion show in the Kent Building.

The 5 to 8 age group winner Makayla Goff made a chocolate peanut butter drip cake that wowed the judges.

Winner of the 9 to 12 age group, Delaney Westhoff, describes her treat as “a magical unicorn cake with three different rainbow layers.”

The frequent baker takes the gold her first year competing.

Jenna Anger, first place for ages 13 to 16, says ”this is something I really enjoy to do with my little sister Juliet(also a participant)-we get to spend time together and then there’s always a good treat at the end.”

Kid’s Day also initiated a Youth Pedal Tractor Pull which consisted of boys and girls of age groups ranging from 5 to 12 years old racing to see who could pull the tractor the farthest as weight was added each round.

The two-year competitor Emily Joe Strachar won first for the girls 5 to 6 age group and then received a golden tractor trophy for her efforts. She says she competes because “I like to bail hay with my dad.”

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