There is one event at the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show that does not get as much attention as the animals, but it is always a crowd pleaser: the homemaking competition.
One by one, the swine were carefully guided into place on Tuesday; so many types of swine, in a variety of colors and designs, all there to compete and shine.
"Two years ago, I placed second, and I got a plaque for placing the highest," said Leah Garcia, a student at Banquete Middle School. "And years past, I've scored highest too."
It is the day students third grade and up who participate in the livestock show work so hard for.
"You have to make sure it weighs the right amount and has the right food and water," said Avery Burch, a Calallen fourth-grader.
Avery's mother said the livestock show is just family tradition. She did it as a student and now her daughter is too.
"And it's always nice to watch our kids go through, you know, doing what we did when we were younger and getting ready for the show," said Becky Burch, Avery's mother. "It's a big deal out there, and it's fun for the kids."
In another building, it was judging time for everything from flowered dresses and pictures to pies, cakes and pickles.
"A good flavor and a little bit of a crunch," said Faith Sheffield, who was judging pickles at the competition. "You don't want it too soft."
On the subject of cakes, cake decorating was a brand new category at this year's show.
"People are looking for the wow factor nowadays," cake decorating judge Jennifer Dragoo said. "You'd be surprised how talented some of these kids really are."
If you want to know just how big the event really is, there is only one person who can put it into perspective.
"This year alone, we had 4,099 entries," event coordinator Lari Ainsworth said, adding that that is more than 500 participants, and it keeps growing every year, all for one very special reason.
"This is for the kids, and we're just glad that they're learning these things and taking a lesson at heart," Ainsworth said. "And we hope that they appreciate it one day and share and pay it forward."
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