WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Around 200 boys and girls from age 5 to 18 were at the big E fairgrounds Saturday morning to showcase animals they raised and things they had grown.

The annual Hampden County 4-H and Youth fair gives kids as far away as Central Massachusetts an opportunity to compete. Some showcasing animals for the very first time.

Lillian Tauscher, a first time competitor from Easthampton, said “I work with my steer two times a week for about three hours. It’s a lot of training them how to walk right, and stand in the right position, and just behave. Very nerve racking, but it’s a lot of fun”.

Kids showcased animals including steer, sheep and poultry. Smith vocational and agricultural high school in Northampton had six students competing with the school’s 4-H club for the first time, and today’s event was all on the kids. With parents and advisers not allowed to intervene in the preparation or competition.

Ashley Holden, a 4-H leader at Smith Vocational and Agricultural school, said “As a leader, I’m not allowed to do anything, it’s all the kids projects. SOme kids had large animal experience, some kids had very little animal experience at all. They’ve really grown leaps and bounds, and really become connected with their animals at the school”.

For the kids competing, they said it’s not just about learning to take care of an animal, but about learning to take on major responsibilities.

Samantha Goodfield, a Barre resident, said

“There’s a lot that goes into it. We have to start training them to walk when they’re young, then we have to make sure they’re clean and not stained. It does like teach you life skills, like it’s your responsibility to take care of the animals. They’re basically like kids kind of, and you have to take care of them”.

4-H members from Hampshire, Franklin, Berkshire and Worcester counties were also able to compete in Satruday’s Hampden county fair.