The San Diego County Fair is one of the biggest events that the Escondido FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter participates in. Their school sends, on average, anywhere from 40 to 70 students to compete in livestock, landscape, and mechanics competitions.
These contests are based on students’ projects, which they have been working on anywhere from four to ten months prior to the fair’s opening date.
These projects include diverse breeds of livestock such as Beef, Lambs, Goats, Pigs, Turkeys, Chickens, and Rabbits, Landscape designs, and Mechanics projects ranging from barbecue trailers to racing bike frames. The livestock projects in the Escondido chapter are all raised on their 6-acre school farm, and many of them are also bred there as well.
The animals are all cared for and raised by students, who are responsible for making sure they are healthy and fed at all times. The students put hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of hours into the care of these animals, while learning responsibility, integrity, and dedication.
The students raising beef, got their steers in October, and the students raising Hogs, Lambs, Goats, and Turkeys got their animals in February and March of this year. Every day between when they are given their animals, and the auction date, and sometimes even later, they are required to tend to them at least twice a day, everyday. The students do everything from feeding to walking and washing their animals every day within that period.
They also have to get the animals ready to show, meaning practicing with them every day and ‘training’ them. Another contest that Escondido students participate in is the Landscape and Garden show. This is an event in which students design and construct a small landscape that is attractive, functional, and relates to the theme of the fair, which this year is “A Fair to Remember.” The students are given just a couple of weeks to construct this landscape, which is then judged and placed against other schools’ exhibits.
This year, a team of 14 students created the landscape. They were awarded 1st place within the school division. Another competition is the student showcase, where an individual, or group create projects in their mechanics classes and enter them into various categories. Four Escondido students enter this contest this year in 2 different categories, Metals and Woods. The projects include, a large Smoker BBQ Trailer, an engine styled BBQ Grill, a wooden plane styled bookshelf, and a picnic table. The results of the judging will be announced at a special awards recognition reception on June 20.