Grant Roberts, 9, of Lapeer, with his goat. (Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News)
When L.C. Scramlin’s children were growing up, their chores included raising livestock on their farm in Holly and showing the animals at local fairs.
And then came the ribbons and trophies — proof of the dedication it takes to see a project through.
“I can take my son to a basketball game, but ... this I can do with him,” said Scramlin, the fair’s general manager. His daughter was involved, too, eventually earning a PhD in meat science. A collage on his office wall at the fair represents the years of work with his children and features a saying: “We weren’t raising livestock, we were raising a family.
It’s that commitment and sense of responsibility it instills, Scramlin said, that organizers of the Oakland County Fair hope to showcase in the fair, now in its 106th year. The fair, which began Friday in rural Davisburg, is in its third year of stretching over two weekends.
For organizers, “it’s about the kids.”
“You’d be amazed how many PhDs in genetics and animal husbandry there are after (the youths’) careers here,” Scramlin said. “It lays a great foundation.”
Sunday, the fair’s second day, 4-H Clubbers arrived early with their prize livestock for Monday’s judging.
Grant Roberts, 9, of Lapeer hung out with his boer goat, a lop-eared meat goat, while sister Madalin, 14, brought her crossbred calf for judging.
Rebel is “maybe 4 to 6 months” old and will be auctioned Saturday at the fair, she said. While she’s used to raising and then selling her charges, it’s bittersweet when they leave the Lapeer property where Madalin lives with her family.
“In a way, it is difficult because you get attached to them,” Madalin said. “You put so much work and time and money and effort into them ... yes, you do know the end goal is that it’s going to feed someone, but it’s still hard.”
She’s a member of the Oakland County 4-H Livestock Club, an activity that is helping lay the foundation, she says, for a possible career as a psychologist who uses animals to work with humans.
Or she could go the route of her mom and dad.
“It’s a family thing,” she says. “My mom and dad used to show at the fair in high school and started dating. My dad hooked my mom up with her first pig project.”
The fair runs through Sunday and features different activities throughout the week, including dog shows, rodeos, teddy bear parade and events like the skillet-throwing and husband-calling contests Sunday.
“They don’t throw it at anyone,” Scramlin said. “We just see how far they can toss them. Guys get to call their wives, too.”
Fair admission is $10 per vehicle, which includes entry for all passengers. Walk-in and motorcycle admission is $5.
For schedules of events, go to www.oakfair.org.