By Debbie Moellendorf
4-H Youth Development Educator, UW-Extension Cooperative Extension Lincoln County
During the months of June and July, 4-H members are busy putting the finishing touches on their projects to be exhibited at this year’s Lincoln County Fair that will be held July 26 to the 30th at the Merrill Festival Grounds.
Exhibiting at the Lincoln County Fair is one of many learning experiences that contribute to the positive development of a young person in 4-H, a University of Wisconsin-Extension youth program. Through the fair judging experience youth learn, recognize their accomplishments (effort and successes), evaluate their efforts, and are guided through a process to consider what they might learn next. Adults, including parents/guardians and 4-H leaders should focus on the efforts of the youth and the learning that is occurring, not the color of the ribbon. Ribbons and awards will fade, but the things young people learn through their project work last a lifetime.
Fair exhibitors in both Junior and Open divisions will bring in their entries on Wednesday, July 26, with face-to-face judging occurring in many Junior Division departments from noon to 7 p.m. that day. New this year, the Junior Horse show will be held on Wednesday evening beginning at 5 p.m. in front of the Grandstand. Judging continues on Wednesday evening in the Jr. Cloverbuds and both the Junior and Open Division Flowers and Houseplants departments. On Thursday, July 27, judging will continue at 9 a.m. in many Junior and Open departments, including Jr. Beef, Sheep and Swine; Jr. and Open Photography, Jr. and Open Family Living, Jr. and Open Cultural Arts; Open Antiques, and Jr. and Open Plant and Soil Sciences. Judging in the Jr. and Open Rabbits begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday. On Friday, July 28, judging continues with the Junior and Open Poultry department at 9 a.m. and Jr. Dairy department at 10 a.m. Judging will conclude on Saturday, July 29, with the Jr. Dog Show at 8 a.m. in the fenced area by the Humane Society and conclude Saturday afternoon with Jr. Small Animals, Jr. Cats, Jr. and Open Exotic Animals, and Jr. and Open Goats. The last day of the fair, July 30, exhibitors of all ages will be collecting their entries and heading home that evening with a sense of accomplishment and beginning their plans for next year’s fair.
Many youth are also involved leadership roles that help make the Lincoln County Fair a reality. They serve as department chair people and committee members who oversee various departments at the fair. Through these experiences young people are developing their leadership skills while providing the opportunity for other youth to display their project work. Older youth, who serve as Lincoln County 4-H Ambassadors, will be very visible during the county fair in emceeing, distributing awards, and promoting 4-H. And still other 4-H youth will be working in the 4-H Dairyland Stand and 4-H Raffle/Promotion Booth. All of the funds raised from each of these efforts are utilized to support 4-H experiences throughout the year.
“Project Place,” hosted by members of the Lincoln County 4-H Board of Directors, will be returning this year. This year the “Project Place” will have its own tent on the grounds. A new 4-H booth will be located in the new building on the grounds where individuals can learn more about specific 4-H project opportunities offered in Lincoln County.
4-H helps youth grow the leadership, critical thinking and communications skills necessary to be successful in a constantly changing world. Viewing the exhibits; watching the judging, participating in the Project Place; and visiting our new 4-H booth at the Lincoln County Fair are great ways to see some of things that young people are learning and accomplishing through their 4-H experience.
If you are interested in learning more about 4-H or want to get involved in Lincoln County 4-H, please feel free to contact Debbie or Cherie at the UW-Extension office at (715) 539-1072 or visit our website at http://lincoln.uwex.edu/ or subscribe to the Lincoln County 4-H Blog http://fyi.uwex.edu/lincolncounty4h/ for up to the minute 4-H news. Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development is a program of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension in partnership with local, state and federal government in each Wisconsin county.