Elephant ears at this year's Franklin County Fair were not just a delectable dish, they were also attached to featured performers Cora and Shannon.

Elephant ears at this year's Franklin County Fair were not just a delectable dish, they were also attached to featured performers Cora and Shannon.

Cora is a 48-year-old Asian elephant, while Shannon is a 27-year old African elephant.

The pair of pachyderms, owned by Bill and Cindy Morris of Gibsonton, Fla., put on the Elephant Encounter inside the midway gates between July 20 and July 25.

Bill Morris demonstrated for the audience how the Asian elephant ear is shaped like the continent for which it is named and the African elephant ear resembles Africa.

"The ears are the biggest difference," he said, comparing the two elephant types.

When Shannon's ears stood out away from the sides of her head, Morris said, she was giving a warning sign that someone or something had invaded her territory.

The ears of an elephant, he said, are also used as a cooling and heating system much like the system in a car.

Shannon is taller than Cora and will not reach her full height until she is 30 or 35.

"Even though she is taller that does not mean she weighs as much as Cora," he said.

Cora weighs about 9,000 pounds, while Shannon weights about 6,500 pounds.

African elephants have longer legs than Asian elephants, according to Morris.

African elephants have two fingers on their trunk while Asian elephants have one, but both are adept at grabbing bananas and picking pockets for carrots.

The skin on an elephant is an inch thick, but Morris demonstrated how sensitive the mammoth beasts are as he tickled Cora and she trumpeted for the audience.

"Cora and I have been together for more than 40 years," he said. "She will do whatever I ask, because I earned her respect. This is my baby."

Morris said he is a third generation elephant owner.

"My grandfather had seven elephants and my father had as many as 19 at one time," he said. "I grew up with some really big friends."

Avonna Boysel, a Hilliard resident who attends Washington Elementary School, was given the opportunity to hold a musical instrument for Cora while she played a few notes on it. Then Boysel rewarded Cora with a cookie by placing it on the elephant's tongue.

Morris warned Boysel before she entered the arena that she might get "slimmed," and his wife offered the youngster a wipe to clean off her hands afterward.

Cindy Morris fed Cora a stack and a half of bread by placing it on the mammal's tongue.

Bill Morris said they eat 18 hours a day.

"When we first got Shannon, she was waist high on me," he said. "We had to bottle feed her and she would trip over her trunk."

The elephants are given water all day long, according to Morris, but one of their favorite liquid refreshments if Kool-Aid.

Cindy Morris held up a pitcher of Kool-Aid and Shannon sucked it down.

A little liquid was left in the pitcher and Bill Morris held the microphone up to Shannon so the audience could hear her slurp the last trace of Kool-Aid.

The two elephants appeared to dance around the arena to different musical numbers, including "Get Down Tonight," and then they stood and sat on metal stools big enough to hold their weight.

As the show came to a close Cora laid down on her side to the sound of a lullaby.