State Fair competition counts as excused school absence - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

State Fair competition counts as excused school absence

Mr. Bun Bun is the reigning champion in class. (Source: WAVE 3 News) Mr. Bun Bun is the reigning champion in class. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Ava Cranmer (Source: WAVE 3 News) Ava Cranmer (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Noah Dunning (Source: WAVE 3 News) Noah Dunning (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Carson Cobb (Source: WAVE 3 News) Carson Cobb (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Competitors bunk with their animals to ensure their welfare and to make sure they show well in competition. (Source: WAVE 3 News) Competitors bunk with their animals to ensure their welfare and to make sure they show well in competition. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
 LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Barely into Opening Day, the 2014 Kentucky State Fair was already hopping.

Ava Cranmer, a 4-year-old from Fern Creek, can tell you all about raising Mr. Bun-Bun.

“Rabbits do dumpings,” she said bluntly. “And they go everywhere-and they make a mess!”

[RELATED STORY: 5 things to know about the KY State Fair]

But her bunny is also last year's reigning champion in class. It's why her 5-year-old brother Gavin's missing his own classes.

“He started kindergarten yesterday,” his mother Gina explained. “But he wanted to be here for the rabbit show.”

“The Rabbit shows don't last very long,” competitor Angie Dunning said. “It's just being here, a sense of pride, showing your county off.”

So much Spencer County pride that Dunning, a second-grade teacher, is taking two personal days, so that her 13-year-old son Noah can show his palomino, named Butterscotch, also a previous ribbon-winner.

“It's more like a workday; not a vacation,” he said.

More like a working camp-out. Competitors bunk with their animals to ensure their welfare and to make sure they show well in competition.

“I just saw my friends showing lambs and I wanted to do lambs,” Noah continued. “But then I wanted to start out with something smaller.”

He's pitting his knowledge against Bowling Green's Carson Cobb, 12, in another subject near and dear to Kentucky appetites; the curing of country ham.

“You go about three times a year and cure your ham,” Cobb said. “It's really fun. And then you have to give a speech about it.”

His mother admits it's not quite the way she remembers 4-H and FFA back in the day. But that's to the better.

“I think it's more relevant today,” Michelle Cobb said. “Any time you can involve a child in this type activity, it gives him life experience.”

Kentucky law allows school districts to count attendance at the state fair as an excusable absence from school. Indiana and West Virginia leave it up to individual districts to decide whether to offer similar allowances, but they're given only for days that a child is involved in competitions.

Ohio avoids the conflict altogether. Its state fair is held the last week of July.

Besides, many parents argue their children are so immersed in competition, they miss most of the fair's other attractions.

Not Ava and Gavin Cranmer.

“We'll be out here,” their mother said. “But just at different times. We'll be out here after school.”

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