Silvana Fair honors past, looks to future | SLIDESHOW

SILVANA — Last year’s Silvana Fair was the first in more than 40 years to be held without longtime Fair Board President Roy Strotz, but this year’s Silvana Fair marked a number of other passages during its otherwise festive day in the summer sun on Saturday, July 27.

“We always know the sun will shine on the Silvana Fair,” said Lynn Pattison, vice president of the Silvana Fair Board, as she noted that the memorial garden on the Silvana Fairgrounds adjacent to the Viking Hall now pays tribute to other Fair Board members, besides Strotz, who have since passed on. “We started recognizing previous Fair Board members who had passed away and I’ve tried to get a complete list. Last year, we added about 21 markers, and this year I did some more research and was able to add 13 more. I hope we haven’t missed anyone, but if we have, people should be sure to let us know.”

According to Pattison, what those Fair Board members of the past worked for was the future of farming in this area, since the Silvana Fair aims to serve as a “learning fair,” by preparing the community’s youth for the fairs that follow, later in the summer on into the fall.

Sisters Brooke and Bethany Thompson joined Selina Shablo in taking top honors for their rabbits at this year’s Silvana Fair, with 14-year-old Brooke nabbing the grand prize for her French Lop and 13-year-old Bethany taking the reserve intermediate award for her Netherland Dwarf, while Selina scored the grand intermediate title for her Dutch rabbit.

“I have to have a really big cage for him,” Brooke Thompson said of her French Lop, which stretched the length of her torso as she picked it up and held it after its win. “I let him out once a week to help him build muscle.”

Just as Brooke Thompson has been caring for and showing rabbits for the past 11 years, earning national awards in the process, so too has younger sister Bethany been showing and caring for rabbits for the past seven years, since their family has more than 70 rabbits altogether. Shablo has only been showing her rabbits for the past three years, but she’s been caring for them “all my life,” and hopes to breed them eventually.

Other kids put their climbing skills to the test on the Stanwood Redi-Mix greased pole contest, which saw Kaylee Knaus snatch one of the envelopes of cash from the top of the pole, even as Wyatt Yoney of Arlington came tantalizingly close but still short of his own prize, while bigger kids such as 96-year-old Helen Vickers of Arlington, driving her husband’s Minneapolis-Moline tractor for the second year in a row, took part in the return of the tractor pull to the Silvana Fair.

However, for the Johnson sisters as much as the Thompson sisters, the Silvana Fair’s purpose as a “learning fair” remained their primary focus throughout the day. Mary Johnson, 13, and Gracie Johnson, 15, have both been caring for Angus Simmental cows for five years, and showing them for two years, carrying on their Stanwood family’s tradition.

“Our dad was in Future Farmers of America and works with cows,” said Mary Johnson, whose cow took the overall reserve ribbon. “It’s neat that we can come out here and learn more.”

“You can develop you farm management skills here before you go to the other fairs,” said Gracie Johnson, the overall grand prize winner for her own cow.


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