Reps want barnyard to be more interactive
HARRINGTON, Del. — With the Delaware State Fair’s mission of agriculture eduction, it is this year partnering in the Delaware FFA AgVenture at the John Curtis Sr. Barnyard.
The barnyard area, named after Curtis, a longtime Delaware agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, was created more than 40 years ago as a place the public could interact with animals, petting sheep or rubbing a cow’s nose.
In recent years, safety issues led to less interaction with live animals, and Danny Aguilar, assistant general manager of the fair, said fair organizers wanted to change the area to be more engaging.
Knowing fairgoers can see animals in so many other places on the fairgrounds, they wanted the barnyard area to be educational and allow people to connect what they learn to what they see throughout the fair.
“It’s really designed to be more hands-on and interactive,” he said.
The area will have six learning stations and cover a wide range of farming topics including plant and animal science.
“We’re touching on all the ideas we teach in ag education and agriscience education,” said Mark Breeding, a Delaware State Fair board member and ag teacher at W.T. Chapman Middle School. “We really tried to touch all the areas.”
This year, the public can get their hands on a cow-miking display, toss beanbags and play in a corn pit all while learning about how food is grown and raised. The AgVenture area will be staffed by FFA members from across the state, some 150 students, rotating in shifts, Breeding said.
Engaging with the public helps the students build skills in leadership, public speaking and personal growth, Breeding added.
“We wanted to get back to that interaction and make it fun,” Breeding said.
The AgVenture venue will be open noon to 8 p.m. daily with extended hours (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) on July 24 for the fair’s Kids Day.