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Wednesday, October 09, 2002

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Youth are fair winners

By Terry Kibler
Enterprise Staff

Three South County residents scored big in Junior Exhibit judging at the 118th annual Big Fresno Fair, winning "best of show" recognition.

But for Fresno County youth competing in the Fur and Feathers division, the fair came to a sudden halt as officials scrambled to prevent a possible spread of Newcastle Disease, a deadly threat to poultry and other small animals such as rabbits.

A sign posted on the Fur and Feathers fair building read: "Closed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, as a precautionary measure against Newcastle Disease. Closed for all of the fair."

Newcastle Disease was recently reported in several Valley locations, and agriculture officials were quickly tending to its eradication.

However, they decided that a major concentration of poultry, rabbits and other small animals at the Big Fresno Fair provided the disease with a target too inviting to be allowed at this time.

So they shut down further activities in the Fur and Feathers judging.

However, officials will allow rabbit and poultry showmanship competition to be held today in the south show ring of the livestock pavilion, a ways removed from the closed building.

In Junior Exhibit judging, special awards for "best of show" honors went to:

Michael Johnson, a member of the Kingsburg 4-H Club and a junior at Kingsburg High School. His color photography photo, "Dresden at Night," was judged the best in its category.

Jeanne Johnson, a member of the Fowler Grange and a senior at Kingsburg High School. Her batch of dried mixed fruit chunks was judged the tastiest of all.

Jonathan Simonian, a member of the Fowler 4-H Club and a sophomore at Fowler High School. He won the top prize in his judging category for a plate of homegrown Armenian peppers.

(October 9, 2002 Newspaper Publication)