Fairgoers witness the miracle of calf's birth.


Byline: Sarah L. Hamby

WOODSTOCK - "There's something here for everyone," said Woodstock Fair General Manager Don Farias Saturday, but little did he know there would even be a Miracle.

Hundreds of fairgoers waited patiently in the hot sun Saturday afternoon, some of them for hours, as a laboring cow struggled to give birth to a calf that was trying to enter the world feet first.

The Baby Barnyard Birthing Center, sponsored by Fairvue Farms in Woodstock and The Farmer's Cow, is one of the most popular booths at the fair - many visitors stop by to say hello to the pregnant cows or to learn about local farming. Saturday was no different, but as the mother cow struggled and time dragged on, Fairvue Farms owner Diane Miller began to warn the crowd that the birth might not be typical, and even suggested the calf might be stillborn.

Despite the "wonderful and educational experience" of another birth early in the morning, she expressed her fears carefully but succinctly.

Experienced farmers and newcomers to agricultural life all waited expectantly. Some observers had never seen a cow before.

Calving chains were wrapped around the partially birthed animal's feet, and the laboring mother was assisted. Paul Miller, Diane's husband, Birthing Center Superintendent Doug Child and another helper delivered the newborn as the audience watched, hope and fear written on their faces.

When the newborn twitched with life, dozens of observers broke out in applause and tears fell in relief. Quickly named "Miracle," it will become a part of Fairvue Farms, one of six Connecticut dairy farms that produce milk for The Farmer's Cow.

"My heart was in my throat," said Diane Miller. "I am speechless that everything worked out so well."

Four-year-old James of Ashford, Conn, was particularly impressed with the "Oreo Cookie cows" but did not stay long once he discovered baby goats and bunnies to admire. Also available for hands-on cuddling were newborn chicks - brought to the fair by the Connecticut Poultry Association.

Of course, there's always the food: funnel cake, kettle corn, cotton candy and Spam, which returned to celebrate 15 years of The Great American Spam Championship in Woodstock. The winner this year, Elinor Ives, 39, of Sturbridge, created Elegant Spam Berry Bites. Her husband, Joshua...

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