Community youth barn opens at fairgrounds in Pleasanton

Marissa Hunt Agricultural Education Center supports 4-H, FFA endeavors

Alameda County Fairgrounds officials and the local youth agriculture community joined together earlier this month to unveil the new Marissa Hunt Agricultural Education Center.

The 8,000-square-foot facility in Pleasanton, already home to five little piglets, is designed as a permanent place where youth in agriculture-focused groups such as 4-H and the Future Farmers of America can learn how to raise animals during the year and for the Alameda County Fair's annual Junior Livestock Show.

"This beautiful new facility represents the Fair Association's long-term vision and commitment to Alameda County's future agricultural leaders," association board president Gordon Galvan said in a statement. "We are extremely pleased to be able to offer them the resources they need to learn, grow and succeed in a safe and modern community environment."

Dozens of 4-H and FFA members from across the county were on hand for the ribbon-cutting and to take the first public tours of the center during the March 7 grand-opening ceremony, officiated by Galvan and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.

The barn, which can house approximately 80 animals at capacity, will be operated by fairgrounds staff as well as volunteer parents of youngsters participating in the program. The facility also includes a classroom and meeting space, restrooms, wash rack, outdoor paddock and livestock scale.

The new center is named in honor of Marissa Hunt, an Abbie 4-H member from Pleasanton who died in a car crash in 2004 at age 10. Among her favorite activities, Hunt loved to raise and show animals at the fair each year.

Hunt's parents attended the grand-opening ceremony, along with local officials including Pleasanton City Councilwoman Kathy Narum, Dublin Vice Mayor Melissa Hernandez and fairgrounds CEO Jerome Hoban.

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