By Katie Demeria
CLEAR BROOK -- Valerie Miller, 12, of Winchester, said she likes working with rabbits "because they don't moo at you."
Miller was able to teach younger kids all about the rabbits she raises at the Frederick County Fair Thursday morning, while in other parts of the fairground participants worked with their own pets.
Frederick, the lionhead rabbit, was awarded longest ears at the fair's pet show.
His owner Eden Molden, 8, of Middletown, was there with her 10-year-old sister Quinna Molden and mother Amy Molden.
Several dogs gathered under the pavilion on the fairgrounds, joined by Frederick and one other rabbit.
The pet show featured various categories, including best bark, saddest face and curliest tail. It gave the handlers, many of who were around Quinna and Eden's age, the chance to work with their dogs, trying to get them to bark on command and be still.
After the show, participants had the opportunity to learn even more about rabbits from participants like Miller in the fair's day camp.
The Moldens had entered the pet show with their two Neapolitan mastiff puppies Wendel and Hommer -- Homer won best costume.
Amy Molden said the show was a break from their other fair activities, most of which are centered around Quinna showing her cows.
Last year, Quinna entered her calf into the pet show, as well.
"He won everything he was entered in," she said.
Darren Godwin and 12-year-old Lindsey Godwin of Cross Junction were there with English Bulldog Zilliah. Lindsey was holding a handful of ribbons, all awarded to Zilliah: two white and eight blue.
"She really likes it," Darren Godwin said. "She's a show off."
The pet show offered the opportunity to work with familiar animals like a participant's pet dogs before continuing with the day and learning about animals they may not usually come in contact with.
Miller taught 3-year-old Raegan Carpenter and her 6-year-old sister Bailey Carpenter about some of the rabbits that Miller has been working with since she was in first grade.
The Carpenter sisters learned what kind of food the rabbits eat, how to properly brush their hair and how to cut their nails while their mother, Pam Carpenter, watched.
"It's nice to teach them about animals," Carpenter said, adding that this is the first year her daughters have attended a day camp.
Marietta Walls, who runs the day camps, said it is a good way to introduce the kids into making exhibits at the fair themselves. Even 5-year-olds can submit crafts, she pointed out, so a participant as young as 3-year-old Raegan can learn useful skills.
Miller was eager to teach them about the rabbits, she said.
"It's fun to teach them new things, because when they get older they can teach other kids about them, too," Valerie said.
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org