The Roundup -

Petting Zoo, Pony Rides Back At The Fair


Freckle Farm Petting Zoo and Pony Rides will be coming to the Richland County Fair again this year. They came two years ago with their petting zoo, pony rides, and turkey races after meeting fair board members at the Rocky Mountian Fair Convention. They will be bringing back the petting zoo and pony rides but not the turkey races this year as they were needed by a different crew. Freckle Farm will be located by the 4-H barns as they were two years ago.

Freckle Farm is currently based out of Arizona but according to the owner, Kari Sears, it actually started in California. Her father, Randy, began the petting zoo and pony ride business and called it Randy's Petting Zoo. After Kari grew up she moved to Arizona and in 1984 changed the name to Freckle Farm. They are open year round and in the cooler months the three crews work in the southern states doing church and school functions, fairs, and birthday parties but during the summer months of June, July and August they pack up the animals and head north. So far they only go as far as Montana and North Dakota but it is a welcome relief for them because, while it is hot to us in the 90s up here, at the same time it is well over 100 degrees down in Arizona. Kari told me "To pick which animals are in the Petting Zoo each crew just opens up their trailer and yells 'up up up!' and whoever jumps in gets to go." The animals for the petting zoo are picked like that but each pony/miniature horse stays with their crew.

Even though Freckle Farms is a business, they do try to help out in their community. They breed some of their animals but a lot are rescued or bought from 4-H kids who are looking for a new home for the animals who did not make weight. Each crew also consists of helpers: high schoolers or kids fresh out of high school and trying to decide what they want to do with their life. "It keeps them off the streets," Kari said, "And helps them along with money and job experience until they decide their purpose in life."

The trips by fair board members to the Rocky Mountain Fair Convention have brought lots more entertainment to the fair this year. Kenny Metcalf as Elton John~ The Early Years, will be doing a free concert Wednesday at 7:30 pm. The Rock Bottom Boys will be performing in the Free Act Tent and Marcus, Funny Man Who Does Tricks will be performing in the commercial building. Both acts will be Thursday through Saturday and the times have yet to be determined. Last but not least Rollo, a street performer/clown, will be strolling through the fairgrounds adding a few more smiles to the festivities.


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