This is the third in a series of articles, to be published July in the Cambridge News and Deerfield Independent, about local families who have shown at area agriculture fairs for generations.
Halley Halverson is bringing projects to the Dane County Fair for the first time.
“What did you take to the fair?” Halley’s mother Lesley Halverson asked her.
“My violets, my pillowcase and bookmark,” said Halley, who will be in first-grade in the fall at Deerfield Elementary School and is a member of Glacial Drumlin 4-H in Deerfield.
Halley has one fair under her belt already — she showed at Stoughton Fair July 10-14. Now, she’s gearing up for Dane County.
For a family that has participated in 4-H for the last two generations, Halley’s first year in Cloverbuds – for children in grades kindergarten through 2 — is a milestone.
“It’s just a neat circle to watch, and be able to let your kid be a part of since it was such a huge part of my life, a huge part of my every summer. I wouldn’t have traded it,” Lesley said.
Halley made all three of her projects in Cloverbuds.
“I like it because you work hard,” Halley said. “They teach us how to make stuff that we want to make. And so Cloverbuds, you have to work hard so then you can be leader of a Cloverbud.”
“It doesn’t mean that you have to work hard, it just means that you just try to work hard,” she continued.
“Because you’re learning new stuff,” Lesley said
One of the new skills she learned this year was sewing. Halley made a pillowcase with her grandma, Holly Paulson.
“When we had to sew it, when we see a pin, we stop and then we take it out, and then we start going again, and then if we find another pin then we take it out and we start again,” Halley said.
“My sister was a little older than her, and my grandma was really big into sewing so they made an apron,” Lesley reminisced. “Watching my sister being able to do that with my grandma and then now watching my mom be able to do it with my kids is pretty special…I think she really enjoys being able to sit back and enjoy the next generation.”
Paulson goes by another name in the Halverson house: “Grandma of the Cows.” Lesley’s parents own beef cows on their farm in Stoughton.
“As a kid I showed, and my parents have beef cows, and so I showed cows,” Lesley said. “And you want to give it a try now.”
Halley has her sights set on showing cows when she’s old enough.
“Because the cows, I know how to walk them,” Halley said.
She’s also keen on showing pigs.
“They’re stinky and we have pigs here,” she continued. “Dad lets us go in the pig pen, but not all the time, because I have summer school.”
Lesley’s father joined 4-H in his youth. She participated in both 4-H and FFA as a kid, along with her sister Jamie Kent. They were in Oak Park 4-H and FFA at Stoughton High School.
“Some of the best memories I have from growing up,” Lesley said.
A highlight of her time in 4-H, Lesley said, was winning champion hereford steer at the Wisconsin State Fair, with her sister. They also won grand champion steer at the Stoughton and Dane County Fairs.
“As a kid, my passion was the animals,” Lesley said. “So, I’m just curious to see where it takes her, and the people that she’ll be able to meet. Because of the fairs, some of my best friends are ones that I have known for a long time from it.”
She hopes Halley will learn something valuable from her time in 4-H.
“I think the livestock definitely teach them responsibility and hard work...You bond with those animals, and it’s a good time. You can make a lot of good summer memories,” Lesley said.
Halley and her family have visited fairs in past years. They watch the livestock shows, ride carnival rides and eat fair food.
“I like to eat hamburgers and French fries,” Halley said.
“What about your slushies? You get one of those on a daily basis,” Lesley asked.
“I got bubblegum and wild cherry,” Halley said.
Going to the Stoughton and Dane County Fairs also mean time with family. Halley likes to watch her grandma and aunt in action.
“Our niece showed in the open beef show, so Halley got to help walk the heifer and do different things like that,” Lesley said.
Halley said it’s fun “seeing your cousins doing stuff that they have to do...Then you can have sleepovers if their parents say.”
“It’s not all about winning, it’s all about fun,” she added.
Halley is the oldest of three siblings and several cousins.
She’s the only Cloverbud so far. Lesley said Halley’s younger sister is eager to join the club. The whole family is preparing for the day they can get in the ring.
“They practice showing the dog (Maggie) as a cow,” Lesley said. “We had a sheep halter...and they would put it on the dog and try to lead the dog and pretend to show it.”
“And then they throwed it away,” Halley said.
“Yeah because then you guys started tying yourselves, each other in it. And the dog needed a break,” Lesley said.