Sheep, Chicks and Geese Scurry at the County Fair- page 7 | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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(Maura McCarthy)

Sheep, Chicks and Geese Scurry at the County Fair

As photographer Dan Nelken has catalogued, the county fair is the place for family farms to showcase their prized livestock


Delaware County Fair 2003
(Maura McCarthy)

Delaware County Fair 2003

Nelken took great pleasure in seeing most of his subjects year after year. The Grant family from Delaware County relished their prowess at raising chickens. “The odds were, every year one of the sisters was going to win the grand champion,” Nelken says. “They would go back and forth.”

He first met Norie, top left, in 2000 when a friend volunteered Nelken to take her photo, much to his dismay. “I really didn’t want to do it because people always expect photographs in return and they usually hate the way they look in photographs,” he recalls. “I ended up taking about a half a dozen of this girl holding the chicken and when I did my contact sheet, I was floored. I’m going, my God, I have been totally blind to a whole world that is there.”

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