The Boonville- Oneida County Fair comes this time every year. The 124th annual event is in full swing now.
The children Eyewitness News spoke say they aren't going to the fair this year just for the cotton candy or the mini- roller coaster rides.
Many say they came to look at some of the more exotic side of the annual event.
"You should probably come out to see the animals you don't get to see," said 9-year-old Adam Schnider. Like Adam, some children say the biggest attraction at this year's Boonville-Oneida County Fair is the animals you may not see every day.
"It was really intense. I think I like the part when the lion flipped over and was sleeping on his back. But I think it was cool when they were going through the ring of fire," said Justin Savoy.
11-year-old Justin Savoy says it's his first time coming that close to lions. It is also the first year the fair is hosting the "Close Encounters of the Exotic Kind." A free show with lions and tigers.
"When are they going to get close like this to a lion or a tiger? Nowhere," explained Georgina Donoho, one of the owners.
Donoho and her husband Vincent have been up close and personal with exotic cats all their lives. And although some may think these animals are man-eaters, Georgina says otherwise.
"They have to learn no. They have to learn come here. They have a vocabulary of 25 words. They know what you are saying. They know what they have to do. They are like children. They go I'm not doing that today," said Donoho.
Georgina says they raise the felines at 3-months-old and live in their homes until they are about ten months. Then they are released into the compound with the rest of the cats.
Georgina and her husband travel all across the country showing off their pride and joy. She says this isn't a job, rather a life style.
"You have to be on
your toes all the time with these guys because they will take a look at
something and go hmm that looks good. It's like people know their dogs and cats.
You just got to read them," said Donoho.
If you haven't been to the fair yet, the lions and tigers will still be there all week. The fair runs through Sunday and gates open at 8 a.m. and close about 11 p.m. or 12 a.m.