Over 1200 second graders participate in Farm Day at Porterville Fair

It was a nice cool Friday morning as elementary schools from around the area began to arrive to Farm Day at the Porterville Fair.

Over 1200 second graders from elementary schools such as, William R. Buckley Elementary, Summit Charter Academy Mathew, SCA Lombardi, Burton, and Springville Elementary rushed off of school buses lined up in the parking lot to be greeted by Monache High School student volunteers before being led to their seats under a nicely shaded canopy area.

The Porterville Junior Fair Board took center stage once all the second graders had filed in, and welcomed them to this year's Farm Day.

Maddie Giannetto captured the children's attention and told the children that they would be learning all about agriculture throughout the day. Giannetto began the educational experience by singing a song with the help of her fellow Junior Fair Board members.

"Dirt Made My Lunch" was a catchy tune that explained how everything we eat and wear comes from the earth under our feet. Giannetto invited the eager kids to sing along with them.

"Thank you dirt, thanks a bunch" could be heard clear across the fairgrounds as the children happily sang along, shouting the lyrics as they went.

Once the Junior Fair Board had finished the opening introduction, the students broke off by class to venture out into the many stations set up, each one dedicated to a different aspect of agriculture.

A class from Summit Charter Academy Mathew took their place at the "10 Things You Never Knew About Horses" station, where two small horses lingered off to the side. A large poster board propped up on hay bales listed ten facts about horses and how they contribute to agriculture. Each fact was read aloud before every student was given the opportunity to pet the horses.

Another station, which an Olive Street School class was gathered at, offered the students a chance to make their own butter. Each student was given a small plastic container containing the ingredients used for butter, and were asked to shake it as hard as they could while they recited a short poem. The children said the poem three or four times. Crackers were passed out at the end so the butter could be tasted.

The roping station submerged the students in a hands-on experience with handling a lasso. Max Guerra, who was all smiles and giggles, concentrated hard on the plastic cow head attached to the end of a hay bale. He circled the lasso a few times around his head before hurling it through the air. Even though he missed his target, he giggled all the way to the end of the line, hoping to have a second chance at success.

Other stations such as oranges, tomatoes, peppers, flowers, and strawberries, taught the children how their food grows and makes its way to their tables.

Additional stations on forestry and water safety educated each class on the importance of trees and water, and how to stay safe when in nature.

Dan Hogan, a kindergarten teacher at Olive Street School, manned the gun safety station, where several firearms lay neatly on a table. Hogan taught the students a little about each firearm, before quizzing them on what they should do if they ever find one.

"Leave it on the ground and tell my parents," said one student.

"Exactly," replied Hogan with a smile.

The peppy second graders roamed from station to station until the early afternoon. They left the fairgrounds with lots of new knowledge to share about animals, plants, and agriculture.

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