Admirers aplenty come in to see piglets at the fair

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

If you go

What: Clark County Fair.

Hours Sunday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.

Admission: adults, $10; seniors 62 and older, $8; kids 7-12 $7; kids 6 and younger, free. Group packs available for admission discounts daily.

Parking and transportation: parking, $6 per vehicle; C-Tran shuttle, $2 round trip from area park-and-ride lots. C-Tran riders get a $1 discount on fair admission. C-Tran fair schedules: http://c-tran.com/assets/CCFair/2011/C-TRAN_Fair_Shuttle_Schedules_2011b.pdf.

Carnival: noon to 10 p.m.; unlimited rides, $30.

Grandstands: Knights of the Realm — Medieval Jousting Tournament, 2 and 6:30 p.m., free with fair admission.

Other highlights: Karen Qwest — Cowgirl Tricks at noon; Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers at 6 p.m.

Pets: Not permitted, except for personal service animals or those on exhibition or in competition.

Share your fair photos with The Columbian:http://columbian.com/fair/photos.

More information:http://clarkcofair.com or 360-397-6180.

Fair Piglets

RIDGEFIELD — As a piglet with black spots on its back pranced toward her Saturday afternoon, Paige Schemenauer’s mother reminded her not to reach across the wire fence and touch the jaunty-looking creature.

The 3-year-old girl continued standing next to the fence even as the friendly piglet retreated to take a nap in the straw with its 10 three-week-old siblings.

“That’s how they play hide and seek with their other brothers and sisters,” Paige’s mother, Catrina Nelson, informed her awestruck child.

Paige and hundreds, if not thousands, more visitors to Saturday’s installment of the 143rd annual Clark County Fair gawked at the piglets bred by Jose and Tina Rodriguez of Yacolt. The Spanish Sunrise Dairy owners are showing their pigs for the second straight year. The couple also displayed six pigs ranging in age from 12 to 14 weeks old.

The Clark County Fair, 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, features a variety of animals, including pigs, cows, rabbits, horses and goats, for observation and sale. Few inspired as many joyous outbursts from adults and children alike as the piglets.

For their part, the piglets were oblivious to all the attention. Most have already been sold, Tina Rodriguez said.

Their routine included jockeying for prime nursing position, napping next to each other in the hay and then repeating the cycle whenever their juvenile stomachs screamed for more milk.

Their mother, a 1-year-old named Dottie, had little choice but to give in to their demands. She will nurse the piglets for a few more weeks. Her owners will then pair her with a boar, in hopes she farrows a second litter.

For the next week though, her first litter are the fair’s smallest squealing stars.

“Everyone loves them,” Tina Rodriguez exclaimed.

Even Nelson, 25, was a convert.

“I don’t really like pigs, but they’re cute,” the Vancouver resident said.

Paige’s father, 26-year-old Eric Schemenauer, said he enjoyed watching his daughter interact not just with the pigs, but also the cows and horses. Still, the young family won’t be taking home a piglet anytime soon, he said.

The piglets’ instinctive fight for their mother’s milk captivated Bernie Carter enough to make a return trip to “E” Barn, where they were housed. The second time around, mother and young were asleep in the hay.

“Mom’s probably taking a rest from feeding them all day long,” observed Carter, a 65-year-old from Portland.

Carter and his daughter, Lexi, attended the Clark County Fair for the first time this year after receiving free tickets.

Lexi Carter, 27, of Vancouver, proclaimed she had found the runt of the litter, among the piglets. Two pigs with black spots also intrigued her.

“I’ve always thought of pigs as being pink,” she said, before commenting that the babies were “adorable.”

Carolyn Jennings of Salmon Creek had a similar reaction as she viewed 12-week-old, auburn-colored pigs marked with black spots in a pen less than 20 feet from the babies.

She and her husband of 22 years, Mike, regard attending the fair each year as a “tradition.”

“That one’s rather attractive,” she said, identifying a pig parading past its two siblings in their pen. “It almost looks like a large guinea pig.”

Ray Legendre: 360-735-4517; www.facebook.com/raylegend; www.twitter.com/col_smallcities; ray.legendre@columbian.com.