By Maureen Robertson
TURKEY TWIST—Considering Ramona’s reputation as the former turkey capital of the world, how did two Poway FFA members walk away with the grand champion and reserve grand champion turkeys at the Ramona Junior Fair? That’s what happened, with Hunter Lane‘s 38-pound “Hugh” wearing the grand champion ribbon in the auction ring and Matt Kelly’s 35-pound “Mr. Bojangles” garnering reserve grand champion honors. Lane’s champion sold for $275. “Mr. Bojangles” sold for $300.
LIKING IT—This is the second year the Ramona Junior Fair Livestock Auction wasn’t held the same weekend as the Ramona Country Fair, and the junior fair likes it, said Jim Robinson, president of the junior fair. “Gosh, we just like it,” he said. “It’s so much more quiet and peaceful.”
It’s been a good year for the junior fair. The annual pie auction last month raised $17,000, up from $12,000 last year, and livestock auction sales on Saturday totaled $262,000. That’s $87,000 more than last year.
Traditionally, the Ramona chamber’s country fair took place during the busiest days of the junior fair. Because the two fairs are held on adjacent property, people could walk from one to the other, and the general sense was it was one big fair. As the two fairs grew, so did tension, with the junior fair closing at 10 each night and the carnival and country fair continuing another hour. People would walk through the junior fairgrounds and campgrounds after hours, and two years ago an animal was maliciously injured late one night and there were reports of bullying from the carnival crowd.
Starting last year, the weeklong junior fair started the third day of the four-day country fair, so there were fewer overlapping days — and they weren’t during the busiest time of the junior fair. The bulk of the 4-H and FFA animals now arrive after the country fair, and some speculated that could hurt livestock auction sales. It hasn’t.
Until the general public gets accustomed to the fact that these are two different summer fairs, questions like “where are the carnival rides” during the junior fair and “where are the animals” during the country fair likely will be heard. But once that’s clear, fair-goers may decide they, too, like it. The country fair, after all, is a busy four days with nonstop entertainment, games, rides, food, crafts and vendor booths.
The junior fair has its own set of activities — games, hay bucking, movie night, dance night, food, animals, a livestock auction — and organizers added to that this year. “The junior fair parents said, ‘we feel our kids are so much more secure and safe,’” said Robinson, “and the atmosphere feels like we’re in a little country fair.”