Baby farm animal shower delights Mill Creek patrons

The weather cooperated, and several thousand animal lovers and their children gathered at the MetroParks Farm in Canfield for the annual animal baby shower on Saturday.

Children were able to pet live farm animals and learn a little bit about their lives. Animals on display included pigs, goats, baby chicks, peacocks, cows and a pair of llamas. Many of the adult animals are owned by the MetroParks Farm. The baby animals were on loan from local farmers.

Most of the visitors were families with small children, but a number of teenagers happily took part. The event was free to the public.

The baby shower has been held every year since 1992 with the exception of a couple years during the coronavirus pandemic. The goal has always been to bring people together, according to Jaime Yohman, community engagement director for the Mill Creek MetroParks.

“We want to bring families out here to the MetroParks farms and all that it has to offer, and to see all the different animals we have here on site,” Yohman said.

New features that people might be interested in include additional hiking trails and a small archery range on the farm, Yohman said.

The baby shower was staffed largely by volunteers from the community.

Seated by a metal washtub in which a half-dozen baby chicks milled about and cheeped, Ashton Albrecht, 16, a student at Canfield High School, said he volunteered because his parents used to take him to the baby shower when he was younger.

Albrecht gently lifted chicks from the tub and placed them in the hands of parents and sometimes children so they could actually see the baby animals up close.

“I just want to do something for the community,” he said.

One of the small children who held a chick in her small hands was Serenity Divencenzo, 6, who was there with her mother, Jessica, of Warren. Serenity appeared to be enchanted by the tiny, peeping animals.

“She gets to see what is going on and how the things that she eats at home are coming from all the animals she is seeing here,” Jessica said. “It’s really fascinating.”

The display in the room included a working demonstration of the chicken’s lifestyle, beginning with an incubator holding live eggs.

The rabbits on the other side of the room remained quietly in their cages as small children looked on.

Emory Close, 14, of North Benton, was another volunteer. A 4-H Ms. Junior Dairy Princess award winner, Close also volunteered to help teach about the farming lifestyle. She sat on a milking stool with children and taught them how to milk a live cow while parents took pictures with their cell phones.

“(The demonstration) shows them where their milk comes from and what they eat,” Emory said, “and shows them why it’s so good to take care of animals.”

“We have a lot of young volunteers that have come out from YSU to help us with this event,” Yohman said, “and also a lot of members from the 4-H area clubs that brought their animals. They wanted to be part of this event and we so appreciate them.”

Jimmy Frohman of Austintown brought his family to the farm in part, he said, to teach his children kindness.

“I want my kids to be compassionate towards animals and learn empathy toward animals,” he said. “I want to help them learn that all life is fragile and all animals deserve love.”

When Frohman asked his daughter, Claire, 4, what her favorite animal was from the day, she whispered very softly, “Cat,” and pointed to the facepainting of a happy kitty cat on her cheek done by MetroParks volunteers.

The baby shower also provided motorized wagon rides for $2 and a chance to interact with live cows. Children were able to walk up to the cattle and pet the animals.

Other amusements included a photo booth, fake tattoos, face painting and a gift shop.

Food was provided by several food trucks.


Read the original article at The Vindicator.