First-time 4-H’ers ready for Douglas County Fair
All was quiet around the Douglas County Fairgrounds last week. The livestock barns were empty, as was most of the parking lot. There was no loud speaker, no carnival, no animal noises. It didn't even smell like a fair.
That will all change beginning this weekend.
The Douglas County 4-H & FFA 2000 Free Fair begins Saturday and runs through August 5 at the fairgrounds. Hundreds of children, adults, animals and projects will fill the barns and buildings and many of those will be from Baldwin.
And as any 4-H'er or parent can attest to, preparing for the Douglas County Fair is hectic and fun.
"This is my first year in 4-H," said Hannah Elder, 9, Baldwin City. She participated in one of the pre-show judging days on Thursday, clothing buymanship and construction. "I like modeling, because it's fun. I like to buy my clothes and make clothes."
With some of her projects already judged earning top purple ribbons she admitted she was nervous.
"I was kind of nervous, because it was my first time," she said. "I thought I would mess up."
But she didn't. Hannah Elder's mother, Robyn Elder, said she waited for the right time to enter her children in 4-H. Twins Mackenzie and Beau, 11, also are first-year 4-H'ers. Members of 4-H can be as young as 7.
"They began taking on more responsibility around the house," Robyn Elder said of how she decided her children were ready for 4-H. "I realized they can finish a project from start to finish. They are old enough now that they can stick with something. And they are getting a lot of satisfaction with the end product."
Robyn Elder said she, too, was a 4-H'er, but so much has changed and it's keeping the first-time 4-H mom busy.
"I grew up doing 4-H. Everything has changed drastically," she said. "They are each doing three projects, and they each have a calf that's twice a day, 365 days a year."
Another first-year Baldwin 4-H'er, Ramie Burkhart, is also having fun. She is following in the footsteps of her siblings, so she has plenty of experience being at the fair. Her favorite 4-H project is her horse.
"I like Lightning, my horse," she said with a smile. She also has a pig, a goat and enjoys cooking.
Megan Kalb, a last year Baldwin 4-H'er and president of the Vinland Valley 4-H Club, offered some advice to the youngsters with many years of 4-H yet to come.
"Get involved with your projects, don't just do them for the fair," Kalb said. "Do stuff all year."
Kalb said fair time and 4-H camp provided her with memories and friends.
"I met a lot of people I will be friends with for a long time," she said of 4-H.
There are four 4-H clubs from Baldwin the Palmyra 4-H Club, the Worden Workers, the Vinland Valley 4-H Club and the Pioneer 4-H Club and all will be represented at the fair.