1. For many, the Dutchess County Fair Costume Contest is the happiest time of year.
2. Each species has its own contest before the highly competitive all species contest.
3. The sheep competition this year was extremely intense.
4. To start off, the sheep revved their engines...
5. ...the princess paraded...
6. No show would be complete without a few hecklers in the crowd.
7. The clown wore her wig upside down and shut those hecklers up with her joke.
8. Human judges looked on, eagerly writing down notes to pass onto the cow judges.
9. The philosophical sheep hoped the judges would appreciate her education.
10. Every sheep made the judge's work incredibly difficult...
11. We all heart lambs.
12. Whoever could choose just one, deserves an award.
13. Finally, the announcer took the stage.
14. The sheep eagerly awaited...
15. The jewel thief "stole" first place and would advance to the next round!
16. Some could hardly contain their anger.
17. But others remained hopeful.
18. "Keep on and sheer on."
19. When asked why the sheep had a chance at the all species contest, one sheep answered with pride...
20. Goats had their own competition to narrow down who would go to... all species...
21. Little Red Riding Hood made an appearance but would not be propelled to the next stage.
22. The mad scientist moved onto the next round...
23. ...as did the triumphant chariot, who vowed to lead the goats to victory.
25. The show arena seemed increasingly daunting to those who were preparing.
28. One cow, who refused to show his face, had his own controversial theory.
29. Only time would tell who was telling the truth...
30. As the competition loomed closer, tensions rose...
31. Some judges started to crack under the pressure...
33. Llamas were the strongest of the competitors: remaining calm but intimidating.
35. Even as a very late rabbit, llamas are simply majestic.
36. Seriously, look at the showmanship.
37. Despite this, the llamas didn't completely steal the show. There were dragons...
38. ...and cops...
39. ...AND PIGS! The cows were right and the pig's plan worked: The crowd jumped at the surprise!
40. A hula pig put on his moves.
41. Nothing could beat this lopsided table though.
42. Finally, Dorothy entered the ring...
43. Their presence was ethereal.
44. The two cows wished each other luck.
45. But Dorothy knew she had it.
46. Look at those shoes!
47. This calf was unimpressed...
48. The cows judged patiently, as creative costume after creative costume passed by.
49. Some went the patriotic route, to get the crowd's emotion roaring.
50. This goat showed off his assets.
51. Whispers flooded every barn.
52. The llama tribunal did not appreciate the goat objectifying himself.
53. THE ULTIMATE ANNOUNCEMENT WAS FINALLY BEING MADE...
54. Some peered on with little interest.
55. The contestants waited anxiously.
56. More heckles from the crowd to get the show rolling.
57. The tension in the air was, all at once, palpable and crushing.
58. Then bam! The jewel thief snagged second place.
59. THEN THE CHARIOT WON! The goat bowed humbly as humans began to kneel at his feet.
60. The lion llama was outraged but the white rabbit remained stoic and classy during defeat.
61. Some were sore losers....
63. Overall, even typical barnyard politics didn't get in the way of the excitement.
64. After a long day of competitions, there was only one thing left to do: rest up for next year.
65. And practice those smiles.
All the animals pictured are part of the 4-H program, which aims to teach children about agriculture and farming in a hands-on environment. The children pick from a variety of farm animals and learn the proper way to care for them: with love and respect. Throughout the Dutchess County Fair, the children camp out with their farm animals, to keep them company throughout the night!