By SCOTT WEISSER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — No surprise that the noises being made inside the Poultry Barn Tuesday morning were bird-like. More unusual, perhaps even surreal, was the source.
Thirteen human competitors took their turn at the microphone during the Chicken Imitation Contest at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair. The sounds they vocalized were impressively, startlingly avian.
“It’s pretty simple,” 4-H leader Valerie Jabobs said of the rules. “You can impersonate anything in the (poultry) barn — pigeon, duck, turkey, goose, hen, cockerel, anything like that.”
Two 4-H judges, Sue Perri of the Poultry Club and Barb Bute, sat facing away from the contestants. They focused on the sonics, summoning a few of the imitators — identified only by number — back to the mic for a repeat performance.
Mallory Fletcher of Bristol, imitating a chicken, was ultimately deemed the best bird mimic.
“Honestly, I had a person from my club teach me how to do it,” the Llama Club member said after her win. “...You’ve got to kind of swallow your voice a little bit, and then you’ve just kind of got to let it out.”
A battle of inches
In other fair contesting Tuesday, eight people gathered at a table in the Home and Family Arts Building. They were given peelers. They were provided with apples.
Their mission: Produce the longest unbroken apple peel. The prize: The apple, and presumably the knowledge that one was especially good at peeling it.
Vi Miller of Goshen triumphed Tuesday with a 93-inch peel. Stephen Borntrager of Sarasota, Fla., came in second with a 65.25-inch ribbon of produce. Vi’s husband Ned notched third-place honors with a 41-inch peel.
Vi’s peel Tuesday was nearly double the 48-incher she produced at last year’s event, when she placed third.
“I was lucky this year that mine didn’t tear,” she said of her peel.
How did she carve out a win? Vi indicated she didn’t practice beforehand.
“You just come and sit down and enjoy the apple,” she said of her method.