Sporting a freshly painted red ladybug on her right cheek Saturday, 3-year-old Dakota West did her best to lasso a “steer” with a green plastic head and a sawhorse body.
It was her first visit to the Wrangler Family Fun Fest, held outside James Brown Arena, where the Augusta Futurity had been taking place all week.
“It’s really, really nice,” said her mother, Augusta resident Darsha West.
Knowing her children love horses, West thought they would enjoy the pony rides and the chance to see horses up close.
West’s 10-year-old daughter, Niya, said she enjoyed the goats at the petting zoo, and snacking on popcorn from the popcorn wagon.
The festival also offered live music, a game of horseshoes, and arts and crafts.
Jeanine Wethal, who has attended for at least five years with her daughter, Ashley, 13, said she thought Saturday’s chill might have kept attendance down.
“It’s not usually this cold,” she said.
Patrons could warm up by walking around inside the arena. Vendors were set up all along the outer walkway, selling everything from horse-themed jewelry to rustic furniture to cowboy boots.
For Ashley Wethal and 16-year-old Haley Sanders, the best part of the festival was the dancing.
As members of North Augusta dance company Rhythm & Class, they entertained the crowd with clogging in the middle of Seventh Street, which was blocked off for the event.
Charlie White, 8, and his mother Crista, were back at the Family Fun Fest after missing last year’s because the family welcomed a new baby girl, who will celebrate her first birthday Monday.
Crista White’s father competes in the cutting horse competition, and the family came to cheer him on.
White said though they live on a farm and have horses, her son doesn’t ride much. On Saturday, his preferred event was flinging the lasso to rope the plastic steer.
Charlie said his favorite event at the Futurity is bull riding, but at home he would rather hunt deer and wild pigs.
“That’s his favorite thing to do,” White said.