The young leading the young
SPENCER – Grandpa’s Barn at the Clay County Fair is full of young farm animals giving visitors an up-close opportunity to see certain types of livestock being raised on Iowa’s farms.
The large display on the main concourse on the fairgrounds would only be made possible by not only the many sponsors, but its volunteers also play a huge role in its success.
Kate Schoelerman, 11, of Milford, is one of the volunteers at Grandpa’s Barn that was on hand to help visitors hold and pet some of the animals.
Schoelerman said she has been helping at Grandpa’s Barn for two years and says she has the experience to do her job from growing up on the farm.
“On our farm we have cows, cats, dogs, chickens, horses, goats and rabbits,” said Schoelerman. “I usually have to take care of the chickens and sometimes the rabbits and I like to ride our horses and will also help with our market calves.”
While volunteering at Grandpa’s Barn, Schoelerman said her main responsibilities have been to show animals to kids and other visitors.
“I let them pet them, see them and I answer their questions,” she said.
Helping out at the fair, Schoelerman said, has also been a learning experience. She has to know answers to questions about some animals she may not be familiar with.
Schoelerman said she gets asked how tall the ostrich chicks will be, which she said they will grow six feet tall.
She also gets asked what the animal’s names are.
“Most of the animals don’t have names, so I will let the kids name the animals,” she said.
Schoelerman likes to help the kids and other visitors hold the baby chicks, kittens and the baby bunnies.
She also helps them feel how heavy an ostrich egg is and has been helping water the animals when needed.
The other animals include mini horses, calves, young donkies, sheep, goats, and llamas.
Schoelerman said visitors can reach through the fences and pet them on their own.
Schoelerman said her favorite thing is helping out the younger children.
“That’s the fun part,” she said. “I like to hold the animals, I guess it’s fun to share them and talk to them about it.
“It’s a different experience because some of them live in town; they don’t see these animals every day. I live on a farm and I don’t even get to see some of these animals every day like the ostriches.”
Schoelerman said she plans to volunteer at Grandpa’s Barn for as many years as she can.
Christine Cox, office administer for the Clay County Farm Bureau, said 1,300 school-age children will experience Grandpa’s Barn through the Ag-Citing project during the week of the Clay County Fair.
It is also estimated that 10 percent of the fair-goers will tour the barn which makes the display a popular stop at the Clay County Fair.
Cox said there are plans to build a larger barn to make more room for the animal exhibits.
There are hopes the barn is constructed in time for the Clay County Fair’s centennial celebration next year, but she said she wasn’t certain that would be possible.
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