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Washington County Fair brings in performers from all over

GTNS photo by Gretchen Teske

Peter Brunette, Farmer Phil, will be performing at the Washington County Fair all week long.
GTNS photo by Gretchen Teske Peter Brunette, Farmer Phil, will be performing at the Washington County Fair all week long.

If there’s one thing Peter Brunette, of Omaha, Neb., knows how to do, it’s perform. He knows how to do several other things, too- like juggle knives, do magic tricks, walk a rope- and he does them all in his act, The Farmer Phil Show, which will be playing at the Washington County Fair all week.

Brunette said he first got the itch to be a performer about 25 years ago when he was 14-years old. As a kid, he attended the Minnesota Renaissance Festival yearly and became fascinated with the jugglers.

“I was doing juggling just for myself mostly, where I would practice a lot of the technical stuff because that’s what I enjoy doing. It’s like going to the gym and putting on headphones and just training,” he said.

As his skills grew, people began to notice and the idea to create his own show was born.

“When you’re a juggler people kind of ask if you want to perform, but about 10 years ago ... I was like, you know, this is my passion, this is what I love doing (and) I want to make it my profession as well, and not just have it be how I make my money now and then, but how I make my living.”

He taught himself tricks like rope walking, fire and knive throwing to make himself more marketable. He is not quite sure how many tricks he has in his act, but he practices them often to keep his skills up to par.

“Once you get real good you don’t have to practice quite as much, but I still practice the tricks in my act,” he said.

The 30-35 minute show includes, magic, jokes and juggling, but also ag education, he said. A lot of fairs want entertainment, but also an education element, especially in rural towns. He said this is crucial to him because he wants to make sure kids walk away from his show knowing how important agriculture is.

“I want them to have fun, but then I want them to get the message that all their food comes from farms (and) that we need farmers and we need women in agriculture,” he said.