By Raiza Giorgi

Summer Fanning, 14, plans to be a veterinarian when she gets older and her sister Grace, 12, plans to be a horse trainer. Meanwhile, they love spending time with their animals.

Like hundreds of other local youth, the sisters from Santa Ynez have spent the past eight months raising and training the animals they will show in the upcoming Santa Barbara County Fair.

“We started helping our older siblings before we were allowed to be in 4-H, and we love being around the animals so much,” Summer said.

“Taking care of animals teaches us responsibility and that the animals depend on us to do it properly,” Grace added.

The sisters, who are part of Lucky Clover 4-H Club in Santa Ynez, will each be showing a heifer and a pig during this year’s fair, which will run from July 11-15 at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

Big-name music acts include Trace Adkins and Kool & the Gang. Attractions include carnival rides, petting zoo, pony rides, a Destruction Derby and, as always, “fair food” such as churros, cotton candy and popcorn.

The Fanning sisters spend roughly four hours a day washing, grooming, feeding and cleaning up after their animals. They plan to sell the animals at the fair and put their profits into their bank account after all the expenses are paid. They will then wait until August to buy new animals and start all over again for next year’s fair.

“We are saving money for college, and this process also teaches us how to manage money,” Summer added.

She has participated in 4-H for the past nine years and Grace for the past five. They started out showing turkeys. They said they love fair week when they get to camp with all their friends and run around the fairpark early in the morning.

The sisters have taken home many awards, including a few first places at the fair, but they are hoping one of them wins the Grand Champion this year.

Prizes are also awarded in contests for homemade pies, jelly and jams, quilts, wine, photography and horticulture. Agriculture education booths are also set up by local groups such as the Santa Barbara County Cattlewomen.

To see a full schedule of events or to buy tickets, log onto