Family Living tent brimming with activity

Colleen Kottke

When Jill Jorgenson says there's something for everyone under the Family Living tent, that's no exaggeration.

The Youth Ag
Adventure, planned by a team of older youth
and adult volunteers, features educational
displays, activities, performances and other fun, interesting
presentations for visitors of all ages.

Sponsored by Rural Mutual Insurance Company, the venue on the grounds of Farm Technology Days Tent City is filled with activities for youth, a rest station for moms and young children, entertainment and the popular Mercantile spotlighting the wares of over 32 vendors hawking everything from handmade soaps and lotions, home canned goods, self-penned children's books, personalized signs and even Skunk Gunk fragrance jars.

Also inside the family-friendly tent is the Youth Ag Adventure where young children - and even adults - can learn something new about agriculture and farming.

"One of the things that we've found is that there are youth who aren't as connected to the farm and agriculture as they used to be. So we really hope that they come and check out things like Farm to Fork where they learn how their favorite foods are grown," said Jorgenson, 4-H Youth agent for Kewaunee County.

Farm to Fork will take youth through the process of growing the ingredients for pizza and cookies.

"Kids will see wheat plants and how the wheat is ground into flour and the amount of milk it takes to make cheese - taking them back to the beginning  where a calf grows  up to being a cow that produces milk for that cheese, and how tomatoes are harvested from plants to create the sauce for the pizza," Jorgenson said. "Not only do they see (the origin) of their food but how long it actually takes for all those ingredients to grow into becoming their favorite food."

Little ones will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and participate in the Chore Challenge where they can try their hand (or feet) at grape stomping, scooping (fake) poop, mixing grain and getting to know farm animals up close in the on-site petting zoo.

"There's also tons of booths with hands-on agricultural activities related to science," Jorgenson said.

Demonstrations throughout the show's three-day run include rabbit hopping and dog agility and stage appearances by Randy Peterson and local entertainer Bobby Rivers.

For those needing a break, local high school have constructed several benches to rest upon. Purchased one too many things at the Mercantile? No need to lug them around the 60-acre tent city when folks can check their purchases at a courtesy booth, said organizer Janita Zimmerman.

"We also have a sanctuary for young mothers where they can go to nurse or change their babies away from the crowd," Zimmerman said. "And while they are doing that, there are things set up to entertain their other children."

There's something new to learn no matter what your age in the Youth Tent at Farm Technology Days. Organizer want young visitors to understand that ag is very much a part of their everyday lives and not just something that happens in a grocery store.

Other displays

Officials from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will be on hand to share tips with show-goers on how to protect themselves against common consumer complaints including telemarketing, identity theft, grandparent scams
and more.

Algoma High School students are life-savers in training. These youth will teach the new lifesaving technique of Hands-Only CPR, which is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths.

The technique is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an "out-of-hospital" setting. Hands-Only CPR consists of two easy steps: call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

Interested in your past? The Historical Society will be on site to help you get started on your journey to learning about your roots. Stop in and see the large display of farming artifacts, photos and collections from years past.

Other groups under the tent include Home and Community Education, Algoma Kitchen Kids (sixth grade students on a mission to get the community to eat healthier), parenting programs, Share and Be Aware: safety on Wisconsin Roads and the Kewaunee County Special Olympics Stars. Meet the players and hear about their heartwarming organization.

The Country Mercantile area in the Family Living Tent will entice you with a wide variety of unique artisans and creative country crafters.

"It is our hope that when youth leave this area that they will  see that agriculture isn't just something that happens in a grocery store but something that happens every day of their lives," Jorgenson said. "Ag is very diverse and we want these kids to connect and see that it's a part of their lives."