From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:
Brad and Alana Fowler have been named the 2017 Family of the Year by the Nevada County Fair’s Board of Directors. The Board chose the Fowler Family for their ongoing commitment, participation and volunteer efforts in the livestock program at the Nevada County Fair.
Brad and Alana, who were both born and raised in Nevada County, have been attending the Fair since they were children. Alana started showing animals in 4-H at nine years old and continued through high school in FFA; and Brad showed throughout high school in FFA. Since that time, they’ve continued to help in the show arenas, volunteer on Treat Street, work in educational booths, assist at the Junior Livestock Auction, set up various displays, and clean barns after the Fair. Today, they spend countless hours in the livestock barns, helping their own children, as well as other youth exhibitors, prepare their animals for the Fair.
The Fowlers, who will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this year, have five daughters – Macey, 14; Molly, 12; Morgan, 10; Wendy, 7; and Wyatt, 7. All their children have been involved with livestock since birth, and have been showing and exhibiting at the Fair since they were young. The older girls started with pygmy goats and rabbits and moved to beef and dairy. Their oldest three daughters raise steers for the Junior Livestock Auction, and their youngest daughters entered Mutton Bustin’ last year.
The girls have each started their own herds of various species, so in addition to bringing steers to the Fair this year, the oldest three girls will also bring some of their own breeding animals, both beef and dairy cattle, to show. The youngest girls help their sisters and have their own animals that will be the foundation for the future livestock they exhibit at the Fair. Additionally, Macey works with several horses during the week, trading for lessons; Molly plays volleyball; and Morgan competes in track.
Not surprisingly, when asked about their favorite memories at the Fair, both share fond memories of their time with the livestock community. “My favorite part of the Fair is watching the Junior Livestock Exhibitors show their animals,” says Brad. “Fair is also important to me because I get to see people in the community.” Alana echoes his comments. “Fair is like a family vacation with friends and family,” she says. “I love to see the livestock exhibitors sharing their knowledge of these animals with families that visit.”
When not busy at the Fair, Alana reports that “life outside of Fair is much like Fair.” They are self-employed, and for the past 10 years they have sold pasture-raised hogs, turkeys and chickens, as well as grass fed beef, lamb and goat directly to consumers in Nevada County. They also use goats and sheep for fire prevention grazing throughout Nevada, Placer and Yuba counties. Outside of work, the Fowlers are involved with the Nevada County Farm Bureau, the Nevada County Food and Farm Conference, Nevada County 4-H, Nevada County Food Policy Council, and Nevada County Livestock Producers.
“The Fowler’s involvement in the livestock community, and their countless hours of volunteering at the Nevada County Fair, embody the community spirit that makes up the Nevada County Fair,” said Rea Callender, CEO of the Fairgrounds. “We are thrilled to be able to recognize them as the 2017 Fair Family of the Year.”
The Fowler Family will be honored at the Fair’s opening ceremony. They will receive a Fair package, as well as a family portrait by Shaffers Originals of Grass Valley. The 2017 Nevada County Fair is August 9 – 13.
—Wendy Oaks, Nevada County Fairgrounds
(Photo: Shaffers Originals)