Fairgoers visit with livestock at the 91st annual Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona on Monday.
Rachel Luna - Staff photographer
By Kristina Hernandez, Redlands Daily Facts
POMONA >> Sky Shivers walks through The Big Red Barn making sure things are in order as the L.A. County Fair opened Monday morning.
As he walks through the large venue nestled in a corner of the fairgrounds, Shivers is quick to point out three dairy cows that are set to give birth any day now.
“You see those cows there. They’re ready to give birth. And once they do, they are sent back to the farm and another pregnant cow is brought back to give birth here,” Shivers says, as a cow looks in his direction. “They don’t get much of a maternity leave.”
For years, Shivers has served as the county fair’s superintendent, ensuring that things are in place at three barn locations on the property.
Hundreds of animals are on display not to only allow children and adults to interact with them, but also serve as an educational experience for all ages.
Shivers has no problems answering questions about farm life and what the animals are responsible for. That’s his mission, he said, to serve as a catalyst for farmers, animals and farm living.
“This lets people see how animals act normally. For example, they will get to see how baby pigs go to and interact with their mother,” he said. “Plus, this will be a first time for a lot of people to pet something other than a dog or cat.”
Around a hundred animals are birthed at the fair — something Shivers looks forward to each day.
Not only is he there to witness the birth, he also provides a play-by-play of the goings on.
“It’s sort of like a Howard Cosell-type of broadcast,” he said. “I tell everyone what’s going on in mom’s tummy... and answer questions while they are giving birth.”
In the fair’s history, close to 800 people waited five hours to watch a cow give birth — a record Shivers hopes to break one day.
But, he said, “we are mostly hoping to help teach people raised on concrete streets see how deeply close to agriculture they are through education.
“I can’t be with those kids long enough to give them a proper education, but if they go home and hop on their (cell phones) and are interested in finding more information... then I’m doing my job.”
Thousands have set foot on the fairgrounds since the county fair begun Friday afternoon.
Attendance was a bit down over the weekend, due to temperatures, but fair organizers are still hoping for a successful run thanks to the Big Red Barn and the new “Pencils 2 Pixels” exhibit.