The Georgia Grown Baby Barn was the must-see sight at this year’s Georgia National Fair! Crowds flocked to the barn to watch Holstein cows give birth to calves. Then they lined up to pet calves on display from earlier deliveries.
Newborn piglets on display in the baby barn with their mama sows also got lots of attention.
“This is a great experience for young people to witness live or by video,” Gov. Nathan Deal said of the Baby Barn while speaking at the Georgia National Fair opening ceremony. “It’s also a great experience for would-be fathers to experience. Watching an animal give birth teaches people compassion and empathy.”
Calf Fairchild was delivered in the barn before the fair officially opened Oct. 4, followed by twins, Cotton and Candy, Perry, Peaches, Rosie, Bullet, Stella, Georgia, Lilly, Buttercup, and Ferris. A total of 20 calves were born at the fair.
Fair goers watching the calves’ births suggested names for each calf. Audience members then used their smartphones to vote for their favorite name. The person who suggested the winning name for each calf had their photo taken with the calf and the veterinarian who delivered it.
“Because of a great team effort, the public can come witness the miracle of life and meet agriculture,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said. “I’m convinced this is the best investment ever made by the taxpayers of Georgia. We’re going to see youngsters come see a calf born or baby pigs and maybe they will become the ones in the next generation motivated to grow our food and fiber.”
Livestock shows were also a big part of the fair with 4-H and FFA members from across the state showing goats, sheep, dairy and beef cattle during the event. Georgia Farm Bureau provided all registered livestock exhibitors with a free t-shirt to honor the hard work they did to prepare their animals for the shows. GFB staff visited with fairgoers throughout the 11-day event at the organization’s booth in the Georgia Grown Building. GFB employees promoted the "I Farm. I Vote." campaign and GFB member benefits.
The fair had a total attendance of 496,524 during its 10-day run despite being closed Oct. 10 after Gov. Deal issued a state of emergency for Houston County due to Hurricane Michael.