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Ag Boosters host barbecue, concert Friday evening - Youth Fair on Saturday

Local residents are being invited by the Fallbrook Ag Boosters organization to join in supporting Fallbrook Union High School’s agricultural department students as they prepare for showing their prized animals and plants at the county fair this summer. The 55th annual Fallbrook Youth Fair will be held this weekend.

On Friday May 14, at 5:30 p.m., the event kicks off with a barbecue dinner and concert presented by the Fallbrook Ag Boosters at the high school’s agricultural department. Community members can enjoy delicious barbecue while being entertained by the songs of the Hwy 76 band, a local bluegrass band that has donated its time and music to the agriculture department in support of the Youth Fair.

“[The Youth Fair and barbecue] are a lot of fun,” said Barb Kessel, president of Fallbrook Ag Boosters. “Some of these kids are the third generation in their family to go through the Youth Fair, and it’s neat to see the different people come in and say hi.”

The Youth Fair was originated and sponsored over several decades by the Optimist Club of Fallbrook. Harold Burchett, who passed away in September of 2008, was credited with founding the event.

“The Optimists originally started the Youth Fair, but as the years went on, they simply didn’t have the membership to continue,” explained Kessel. “We are simply continuing what they started.”

According to Fallbrook High’s agricultural instruc tor Doug Sehnert, a team participating in the Relay for Life will conduct a dessert auction at Friday night’s barbecue and tickets will be sold to win half a pig. Community members will also be able to buy raffle tickets for the wildly popular “Kiss a Pig” contest featuring five competitors.

“Three 4-H leaders, Skip Johnston, Debbie Torres, and Valerie Litvak, agriculture teacher Margaret Chapman and Miss Fallbrook Kandace Kooyman will be competing to see who gets to kiss the pig,” explained Barb Kessel, president of Fallbrook Ag Boosters. “The winner has to hold a huge marshmallow in his or her mouth, get on all fours, and then the pig goes after the marshmallow. It’s a good fundraiser for 4-H and everyone is a good sport about it.”

Sehnert said he believes that the event will draw “approximately 200 to 300 people.” Tickets ($9 each) can be bought beforehand at the agricultural department office, or on the day of the event.

On Saturday, May 15, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and other agricultural department students will show what they’ve been working on. Horticulture students will offer a plant sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nursery plants will be sold by the students to benefit their individual enterprises.

FFA students will show their market and breed animals that day.

“We will have a roping demonstration for kids interested in learning about that,” said Barb Kessel, president of Ag Boosters. “A favorite is also the costumed chicken parade; it’s really cute.” In addition, game booths, community service groups, a kids’ art show, and child identification services will provide plenty of fun for the whole family, said Sehnert.

“We are hoping that this will be a fun family event,” he said. “This is an opportunity for students to show and present their animals as a way to evaluate and ‘tune up’ their showmanship before the San Diego County Fair.”

Make sure to bring your appetites as well, said Sehnert, since there will be breakfast and lunch items as well as beverages offered at booths during the Youth Fair.

Kessel said while the Youth Fair is one way for funds to be raised to support the agriculture department, more ideas are being explored.

“<Ag Boosters> is looking for new ways to raise funds for the agricultural department,” she said. “We send a lot of our kids to leadership camp, but funds are down and tight for everyone.”

For more information about the barbecue or Youth Fair, call (760) 723-6300, ext. 2508.

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