What do fish and pigs have in common?
Both are part of new activities at this year's Washington County Fair.
"I need four piggy rooters," Pam Chase called out to the crowd of youngsters gathered to watch Chase's Racing Pigs Sunday afternoon.
She picks a child to root for each of four potbellied pigs that race around a track designed by her husband, Ed Chase, whose "day job" is a carpenter back home in Florida.
At the end of each race, the rooter for the winning pig is presented a medal and a checkered race flag.
"My husband built all of this," Pam said following Sunday's noon race. "During the off season we do a lot of carpentry-kitchens, additions, and other building projects."
For the last five years the husband and wife team have been traveling to fairs in Michigan, Indiana, Georgia, Ohio and Florida, entertaining young and old alike with their pig races.
"This is our first year here, and it's such a beautiful area-everyone's so nice and the fairgrounds are very clean," Pam said following the noon race on Sunday.
While she was talking, Ed brought out their pride and joy-a five-pound potbellied pig named "Lucy," smartly dressed in a fashionable hat and sporting toenails with bright pink polish.
"She doesn't run with the other four-she's more like our mascot," Pam said. "And she does tricks. She learned to 'sit' on command in just two lessons. Pigs are very smart animals-they're very clean, too."
Nearby James McCune of Mineral Wells, W.Va., manned the "Go Fishin'" tank with 18,000 gallons of water and 287 bass and bluegill that kids could catch for free.
"We also have a smaller tank of goldfish for the younger children," he said. "The idea is to get kids interested in fishing. A lot of kids spend so much time indoors, playing electronic games. Sometimes this is the only chance they get to try fishing."
Children, provided with fishing poles by McCune, surrounded the large tank Sunday afternoon, hoping to pull in a "lunker" bass or spunky bluegill.
Four-year-old Chad Lang of Marietta felt a tug on his line and grinned ear-to-ear as he pulled a small bluegill out of the water.
"My dad takes me fishing-and I caught a big one down at the beach," he said.
Jake Welch, 10, of Barlow, said he enjoys fishing in some of the local farm ponds.
"There are a lot of ponds everywhere around here," he said. "We have one on our farm. I like to fish for bluegill-it's relaxing."
Welch said he liked the Go Fishin' tank.
"It shows people who don't know how to fish how to do it," he said.
McCune said Go Fishin' is operated by a company based in the Columbus area, and the tanks are set up at fairs and festivals across the country.
A former pro fisherman, he enjoys getting kids hooked on fishing.
"I traveled on the professional fishing circuit with Bass Pro Shops for more than eight years," he said. "I was younger then-the company gave me a truck and boat. I traveled all over the U.S. But I wanted to do something else."
McCune said he would like to take Go Fishin' into schools, to teach youngsters about fish and fishing.
"They could learn how to tie a proper knot, but also learn about fish habitat and how to handle fish," he said. "We just hope kids will pick up on fishing and continue to enjoy it all their lives."