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This article was corrected on Aug. 9, 2012. An explanation of the correction appears at the bottom of the article.
Neighing and mooing sounds could be heard from the Damascus Library Wednesday afternoon.
More than 100 area children — most of them imitating horses and cows — learned about the role of farm animals in the county's agricultural industry at the library's Meet A Farm Animal summer program.
The event included crafts, agriculture-themed stories and the opportunity to pet a Mini Rex rabbit, a football-sized animal with velvet-like fur.
The event, one of several taking place in Montgomery County, was used to promote the upcoming Montgomery County Agricultural Fair in Gaithersburg, which runs from Aug. 10-18.
Alexander Stonesifer, 5, of Germantown, waited in a line of about 20 children to pet the rabbit held by Ryan Watkins, 16, of Damascus, who is serving as a prince at this year's fair.
“It was so soft like nobody can believe,” Alexander said, of the rabbit, which was the only animal at the event.
Ryan's sister Kelsey Watkins, 20, who served as fair queen in 2011, also was at the event, along with this year's princess, Colleen Gannon, 18, of Rockville. The three spoke to the children about fair activities, such as tractor pulls and pig racing.
“The pig that wins [the race], he gets an Oreo cookie at the end,” Ryan said.
They also read “Carrot Soup” by John Segal and sang “Old McDonald” at the library. The event was the third of its kind that Kelsey Watkins has participated in. She also supported farm animal programs at the Bethesda and Chevy Chase libraries this summer.
Watkins has less than 10 days left in her year-long reign, when she will give up her crown to one of five contestants — including Gannon — who are vying for the crown. The coronation for this year's royal court will be 6 p.m. on Aug. 12 at the county fairgrounds.
Watkins said the purpose of the summer program is to raise awareness about 4-H clubs and agricultural events that young children can participate in countywide.
“We want to try to encourage kids to come to the fair because most don't know it's not just about carnival rides,” Watkins said. “I want to encourage kids to join 4-H and Future Farmers of America.”
“So many people who move here [don't] know there's a county fair nearby,” said Alethia Watkins, a fair volunteer, who attended Wednesday's event in Damascus.
Watkins said the summer event also teaches children about the agricultural industry in the county.
“So many people — particularly kids — don't know that their milk and eggs come from animals. They think it comes from a store.... Farmers in the area are responsible for our food,” she said. “It's a good thing for kids [to learn].”
“We've been having this here for over a decade,” said Virginia Krute, children's librarian at the Damascus Library. “I think the kids need to know where their food comes from and I think this helps.”
Joanna Kwaliff, of Damascus, attends the fair each year with her daughter Bella Vedaa, 5. The pair attended the library event, where Bella said she enjoyed petting the rabbit.
“We'll definitely be going to the fair [this year],” Kwaliff said. “I've been going since I was a kid.”
This article was updated to correct the spelling of Alexander Stonesifer's name. The 5-year-old lives in Germantown.