Cape kids mix fun, competition at fair

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Stomach-turning rides, Italian sausages with green peppers and onions, horse racing, bull riding, giant pumpkins, crafts and livestock competitions – these are some of the flavors that make up the sights, sounds and smells of the Cumberland County Fair.

For some Cape Elizabeth kids, though, the fair, means work as well as play.

The challenging 4-H sheep obstacle-course competition, for example, took place Monday in the show arena in the middle of the animal barns. Competitors had to weave their sheep through cones, get them in and out of a fenced-off square and then in a water pan, have them jump on a table, stand in a circle, jump over a hurdle and be done with the course as soon as possible.

Rebecca Strout, 13, of Shady Oak Farm on Fowler Road, led Laurel, her 6-month-old lamb, through the course in 39.93 seconds – fast enough to give her first place in the intermediates.

Strout was excited to win the top honor, though it wasn’t her first. “I’ve gotten first place in a giant pumpkin contest, too,” said Strout about her achievements at a previous fair.

Joining Strout in the competition were several residents of Cape Elizabeth who keep their sheep at the Shady Oak Farm – Sonja Barker, 13, Dana Lambert, 13, Jake Fields, 12, and Emily Taylor, 11.

“Tonight we might cut and clip the sheep,” said Taylor about the remaining fair activities for Monday.

Fields said this was the first time he had worked with sheep at the fair. “My dad talked to me about it and said it would help get me out of the house,” he said.

It’s been a good experience so far, and he liked participating in the fair’s activities. As of Monday, though, he hadn’t gone on any rides.

When asked what rides he wants to go on, he replied without hesitation, “All of them.”

The group seemed in agreement that Wednesday, when they could purchase all-day bracelets, would be the day for fair rides.

The 135th fair started on Sunday, Sept. 24, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 1, at the Cumberland Fairgrounds.

Rebecca Strout, 13, of Shady Oak Farm on Fowler Road clears a hurdle with her lamb, Laurel, to finish the coarse with a winning time for intermediates at the Cumberland County Fair.

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