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Critter craze

Sugar-fed children aren't the only wild creatures you'll see running around the Jackson County Fair. From butterflies to tigers, animal exhibits help teach fairgoers about conservation, gardening and agriculture. The fair continues through Sunday at The Expo in Central Point. Admission is $10 general, free for kids 12 and under, and parking is free this year.

Pirate's Parrot Show: Entertainer Chris Biro is putting on shows at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. every day with his collection of colorful birds. The shows feature tricks and comedy, but also provide information about the plight of parrots in America and efforts to conserve these birds around the planet. Biro, an Army veteran who committed himself to parrot conservation after his first experience owning one, oversees 20 birds. Keep your eyes peeled for 3-year-old scarlet macaw Phoenix and cockatoo Snowman, who will be prepared to help you tip when it comes time for the Dollar Bill Trick. 

Butterfly Adventure: In the cool of the Seven Feathers Event Center, a giant exhibit of butterflies is open for anyone to wander through. Visitors young and old delight in the miniature forest filled with colorful wings. You can attract the monarchs and painted ladies with cotton swabs sweetened with nectar. The exhibit also features a chance to see butterfly eggs, caterpillars and developing butterflies inside chrysalises. The staffers also teach visitors about how to attract butterflies to their own gardens.

Walk on the Wild Side Petting Zoo and Exotic Animals: Llamas, goats and sheep are among the animals available to meet and greet in the petting zoo portion. For a taste of something wilder, visit the resident Siberian tiger, the lynx-resembling caracal, or the southeast Asian binturong, which looks like a wolverine, among others. Although these animals aren't for petting, informational posters can tell you more about their habitats, status as a species, diet and behavior. 

Livestock showings and auctions: The swine and poultry judging and auction took place Tuesday and Wednesday, but the animals will still be around. 4-H'ers and Future Farmers of America members will be moving their steers and goats in for the upcoming judging and auction on Saturday. The barns are open for a walk-through, and the auctions will showcase the animals looking their finest for the buyers. 

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Piglets take a rest at the Jackson County Fair on Tuesday. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch
Matthew Brooks, 6, of Medford, has an encounter with a monarch butterfly while visiting the Butterfly Adventure exhibit at the Jackson County Fair on Wednesday. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch