The Eastern Idaho State Fair always provides opportunities you wait a year to experience. Whether it’s that specialty snack or carnival ride, there’s something for everyone. And if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, you might even be able to make a new friend.
“We’re providing a wonderful service to families that never get to see animals or pet animals, or touch animals,” Connie Boger, owner of Animal Specialties said.”
For the past 25 years, Boger and company have been traveling around America, giving people hands-on experiences with animals. Based out of Lowell, Arkansas, Boger has 225 animals with her this year.
“It seems to me that the baby pigs make the biggest impact,” she said. “I don’t know for sure why, but people love Potbelly Pigs.”
While many of her animals are common in the region, there are a few unfamiliar faces.
“We’ve got a Watusi, we’ve got a Texas Longhorn, we’ve got a Water Buffalo … a yak, so they’re seeing some unusual animals that they aren’t in everybody’s backyard,” Boger explained.
And, unlike most animal displays, touching is encouraged.
“We are creating memories with that and that’s what this is all about. We want kids to be able to touch, and have a touching experience, a learning experience by touching,” she said.
If you really want to get hands-on, you can milk a cow. An activity Boger says is on many’s bucket list maybe a little much for some, so an alternative is available — a fake cow with fake utters.
“So, this is Moving Agriculture in the Classroom and it’s to teach the kids a little bit about agriculture and how it works,” Susan Lindsey of the Rigby FFA said. “So, they get to milk the cow.”
Even though this one is fake, Lindsey said it’s been a popular activity.
“We’ve had a lot of kids come and it’s kind of fun, and some of the moms and dads that have came through, their kids have said this is all we wanted to do, they said as soon as they came to the fair,” Lindsey explained. “So, it’s kind of been a tradition for quite a while.”
On the other hand, Boger prefers the real animals because of the interactions kids have with them.
“When they get to feed the goats or when they get to milk the cow because I know that I’m planting a seed that might stay there, and we might have a farmer from that experience,” she said, “and that’s my goal.”