East End gears up for Agriculture Show

Evelyn McLaughlin’s prize cow Princess and her calf will be entered in the upcoming Agriculture Show cattle competition in February. – Photos: Jewel Levy
Evelyn McLaughlin’s prize cow Princess and her calf will be entered in the upcoming Agriculture Show cattle competition in February. – Photos: Jewel Levy

Cayman farmers are in the home stretch making final preparations in anticipation of taking part in and, hopefully, winning a ribbon at this year’s Agriculture Show.

In East End, the farmers are leading their favorite prize animals from their pastures and pens to get them washed and cleaned, while crafters are putting some final stitches to those special pieces they have been working on.

This is the 49th year for the show, which takes place every Ash Wednesday, falling this year on Feb. 10. Exhibitors and scores of visitors are expected to convene at the Stacy Watler Agriculture Pavilion in Lower Valley.

East End artist Edney McLean works on a dried wood creation for the show.
East End artist Edney McLean works on a dried wood creation for the show.

A first place ribbon is what farmer Evelyn McLaghlin is hoping to bring home when he enters his prize cow Princess and her calf in the cattle competition. The 78-year-old East End farmer and ex-seaman is fondly known as “the Butcher” in his district.

On a recent morning out at his pasture, hearing his call, the cows came running over to be fed and patted.

“See what a little bit of love can do,” said Mr. McLaughlin, leaning on Princess, and offering a healthy looking Senepol bull a banana, which gently took the fruit from his hand.

“He always looks for the banana when I arrive,” laughed Mr. McLaughlin.

Crafter Carmen Conolly displays works to be entered in the show.
Crafter Carmen Conolly displays works to be entered in the show.

“I have been in the cattle business since 1962. I bought a piece of land and it came with three cows, and the herd expanded from there,” he said.

“Princess was born in the front yard of my home in East End. When she had a calf, I brought her inland.”

According to Mr. McLaughlin, Cayman is short on cows right now but he tries to keep his herd up by taking good care of his breeders.

To pick which cows enter the show, Mr. McLaughlin looks for the ones that are easy to handle and in good condition.

Princess is considered a favorite because she has already taken first and third places in the cattle competition in prior years.

Arts and crafts will be on display.
Arts and crafts will be on display.

But the Agriculture Show is not just about livestock.

Carmen Conolly, who has won prizes for thatch and craft work, is looking forward this year to adding to her collection of awards.

A retired teacher, she is renowned as a connoisseur of crafts and embroidery and has been an active member of the church community in East End since 1955. In her collection are numerous straw hats, baskets, cushions and much more for the show.

Ray Burton Kirchman says he is keeping a close watch over the prize pumpkins and melons in his garden, which will be picked the day before the show.

Ray Burton Kirchman picks pumpkins and sweet sops from his garden plot for the Agriculture Show.
Ray Burton Kirchman picks pumpkins and sweet sops from his garden plot for the Agriculture Show.

“I always assist the East End committee with produce from my garden for the district stall,” he said.

This year, Mr. Kirchman said he is looking to present cassava, watermelons and lots of produce from short-term crops at the show.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the show can contact the Agriculture Society directly, or

George Smith at [email protected]/925-9743 or Kerry Forbes [email protected]/947-3696 before Feb. 3.

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