DU QUOIN — Seventeen-month-old Rowan Zinck's small hand extended sliced carrot after sliced carrot to the over-eager goats at the Petting Zoo, his small hand appearing to disappear inside more than one animal's little mouth.
His father, Ryan Zinck of Mascoutah, said he was not concerned about the animals biting his son, who seemed to throw abandon to the wind as he fed and fed the goats. The family, including at least three generations, had been staying on the campgrounds during the fair.
As the final day of the 2017 Du Quoin State Fair got underway, the activity under the big tent that was the Petting Zoo moved at a brisk, albeit leisurely holiday Monday, pace. Families and others enjoyed the rides, last-minute bits of fair food and other attractions at the fair.
His family explained that there is a pet at home, a small maltese dog, who wants nothing to do with him. As he prepared to leave, he lightly bopped a few of the attentive goats on the snout.
That must be like the tot's version of a "high five," his great aunt, Cheri Kurtz, said.
Monday's temperature was expected to reach a high of 91 degrees, with a breeze of 12 miles per hour.
"The weather is making everything a whole lot better" for fair-goers, noted Nathan Tidwell, who sold the cups of sliced carrots in the Petting Zoo.
Tidwell said he expected the crowd to continue at this clip, adding that it would dramatically decrease once the car racing started later on that evening. For at least 90 minutes Monday morning, several strollers were parked outside the entrance to the Petting Zoo.
Also taking turns feeding the animals was 3-year-old Mason Martin, visiting with his mother, Jessica, and grandmother, Julie Briley of Elkville.
Jessica said the family tries to make it to the fair to feed the animals, ride the carnival rides and experience other sights; to her and her mother, the fair's attendance has seemed to stay steady.
Monday's trip, though, was to let Mason experience farm and other animals up close. After feeding some goats, he tried to feed an alpaca at the front of the tent and then some other goats nearby.
"He wants to move to a far to get chickens and goats, he says," his mother said.
The fair's final day also attracted David McRoberts of Muprhysboro and his daughter, 6-year-old Riley. He said they arrived at the fair about 11 a.m. and had to wait until rides started at 11:30 a.m. to enjoy those attractions. He'd accompanied his daughter on one ride that zipped-zipped, he said, but she seemed to enjoy herself on other rides without him.
Almost two hours after they arrived, he watched as Riley and other girl climbed onto the RockStar ride, the only two on that multi-seat ride, to enjoy a few minutes swing through the air.
She emerged, cheeks rosy. On a scale of one to five, five being the best, she gave the fair and rides a "five."
"It's pretty cool," McRoberts said of this year's fair. "We have no complaints. We've had a good time."