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updated: 7/26/2011 4:41 PM

Animal safety a priority at DuPage County Fair

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  • Four-month-old boarder collie "Sotsie" already is starting to work the sheep that Richard Crome of downstate Charleston brought to the DuPage County Fair in Wheaton, which begins Wednesday.

       Four-month-old boarder collie "Sotsie" already is starting to work the sheep that Richard Crome of downstate Charleston brought to the DuPage County Fair in Wheaton, which begins Wednesday.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Ashleigh Wackerlin, 7 of Hinckley moves one of her spotted pigs into its pen on Tuesday before the start of the DuPage County Fair in Wheaton.

       Ashleigh Wackerlin, 7 of Hinckley moves one of her spotted pigs into its pen on Tuesday before the start of the DuPage County Fair in Wheaton.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Richard Crome of downstate Charleston gets his sheep into their pens in preparation for the start of the DuPage County Fair. Exhibitors moved their animals into the fairgrounds on Tuesday.

       Richard Crome of downstate Charleston gets his sheep into their pens in preparation for the start of the DuPage County Fair. Exhibitors moved their animals into the fairgrounds on Tuesday.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
By Megan Bannister

Cattle and goats and swine, oh my.

Accompanied by chickens, rabbits and sheep, hundreds of animals arrived Tuesday at the county fairgrounds in Wheaton in preparation of the DuPage County Fair, which begins Wednesday.

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After dangerously high temperatures during the Kane County Fair last week, officials have made safety a top priority for DuPage's 57th annual fair.

"We have taken precautions to keep the animals safe and cool," said Jim McGuire, president of the fair association.

There will be fans running at all times in the livestock barns and electricians will be on site to ensure that the grounds have the capacity to support the extra electrical appliances. Though in the late July heat, even the most prepared "can run into trouble with certain animals," McGuire said.

"You have to just constantly stay in the barn as much as you can," said DeKalb resident Justine Jennings, who is competing in the 4-H swine class.

"We'll be living here for the next five days," said Nick Baert, also of DeKalb.

Jennings and Baert are members of the Green Meadows 4-H club. The friends attend two to three county fairs a year with different swine and will be showing eight pigs at the DuPage fair.

Many competitors arrived at the fair as early as last Thursday to begin setting up pens and prepping for the animals' arrival.

McGuire said that days before exhibitors moved their livestock in Tuesday, the stalls of the fairground's barns were ready to host the hundreds of animals competing.

"It's something to do over the summer," Jennings said. "A lot of kids, they don't do anything. This is something to do that we can be proud of."

For 13-year-old Emma Peterson of Glen Ellyn, this year's county fair marks the first year she will compete in the cattle division.

"My brother and I go help with the milking and stuff and they asked us if we would like to show her," Peterson said of the cow she is displaying.

The cow belongs to friends of Peterson's family who live in Glen Ellyn and have an 11-acre stretch of property large enough to house larger livestock.

"I tried to walk her," she said of her pre-fair preparations. "She's kind of stubborn."

Livestock barns will be open during the fair from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. each day and judging will be held throughout the week.

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