Thursday, August 4, 2022

Learn About 4-H at the Franklin County Fair

The 172nd Annual Franklin County Fair ( kicks off on Sunday, August 7th, with poultry judging, horses in place, Holstein and red and white cattle in place, and a demolition derby. It will conclude on Sunday, August 14, with an open beef show and tractor pulls. You can take a spin on the Tilt-a-Whirl or a ride on the Ferris Wheel, enjoy some fried dough, and take in a Monster Truck Show (Aug. 10), a demolition derby (Aug. 11), or a concert by Rodney Atkins and Tracy Byrd (Aug. 12th) or Walker Hayes and Tigirlily (Aug. 13).  

It’s also an opportunity to learn about or show your support for 4-H, America’s largest youth development organization. 4-H is almost certainly the most highly recognized of all Cooperative Extension programs. And the Franklin County Fair has a long and rich tradition of supporting 4-H programs and 4-H youth. For more than a century, the Fair has been a place for 4-H members to come together to showcase their skills, craftsmanship, showmanship, and their animals. The Fair isn’t actually a part of the 4-H program and Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Fair Board are not directly related. But both organizations have been cooperating for generations to assure continued success.
Franklin County 4-H club members will be exhibiting their projects in the 4-H Youth Building (located behind the commercial exhibits building). The 4-H Fair theme for 2022 is ‘4-H Together Wherever’. Parents are invited to take a relaxing break from the midway while children of all ages enjoy live, interactive activities (e.g. butter making) on the 4-H Stage daily from 1-3 PM, or visit the small animal petting zoo, the Build a Tower Pit, and the Kinetic Sand and Lego Tables. It’s all free!

A 4-H exhibit at a previous Franklin County Fair. Photo provided.

While you’re there, stop by the Clover Corner Eats Concession Stand, where you can try a walking taco made with locally-sourced beef, cheese, and sour cream, or a Stewart’s milkshake, fresh popcorn, cotton candy, and much more. Clover Corner Eats is open daily from 12-6 p.m.  The effort, creativity, and teamwork put forth by 4-H leaders and volunteers, and the hard work of our 4-H club members as they ready their displays with the posters, crafts, woodworking, sewing, and gardening projects that they’ve submitted for judging is often inspirational.
And words cannot describe the love, pride, and individual care given by these remarkably enthusiastic boys and girls to their exceptionally-well-cared-for animals. They won’t all go home with blue ribbons but, as far as I’m concerned, they’re all winners.
Visitors are encouraged to view these much-loved animals in their pens and stalls and to enjoy the many equestrian and livestock exhibits, demonstrations, shows, and competitions taking place during the week.
4-H events include:
Monday, August 8th: Children’s Day
– 8AM: 4-H Horse Show (New Riding Arena)
– 10AM: 4-H Youth Dairy Show
Tuesday, August 9th:
– 8AM: 4-H Horse Beginner Show and Miniature Horse Show (New Riding Arena)
– 2PM: 4-H Sheep Showmanship & Conformation in Sheep Barn
Wednesday, August 10th:
– 8AM: Combined Open and 4-H Youth Goat Shows (Inside Arena)
             English Horse Show (Riding Arena)
Thursday, August 11th: Children’s Day; Senior Citizen’s Day; Sensory Perception Day
– 10AM: 4-H Youth Goat Showmanship – Pack and Costume (Inside Arena)
Friday, August 12th:
– 8AM: All day Pony & Horse Show (New Riding Arena)
– 2PM: 4-H Youth Colored Breeds Show (Inside Arena)
– 6PM: 4-H Youth Beef Show (Inside Arena)
Saturday, August 13th:
– 9AM: Cattle Judging – Colored Breeds
             Open Sheep Show (Sheep Barn)
Sunday, August 14th: Agricultural Day
– 1PM: 4-H Wearable Creations Fashion Show (4-H Building) Young designers walk the catwalk dressed in clothing they created (e.g. hats, mittens, felt purses, tee shirt dresses)

A youngster displays a craft she made during a 4-H workshop at a previous Franklin County Fair. Photo provided.

Ask a 4-H youth-member what 4-H is about and you’ll get answers like fun, learning, and doing really cool things. But 4-H is much more than that. It’s about friendships that will span generations, sharing time and experiences with others, and learning and discovering new abilities, talents, and skills that can be used throughout one’s lifetime.
It’s about family and community responsibility, hard work and success, and developing attitudes and habits that will help us all meet today’s challenges and the challenges of the future, as well. And it’s about building a world in which youth and adults learn, grow, and work together as catalysts for positive change.
4-H grows true leaders; youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. Independent research confirms that 4-H youth are more likely to contribute to their communities, make healthier choices, be civically active, and / or participate in STEM programs.



So, check out 4-H at the Franklin County Fair; August 7 – 14. Maybe you’ll find a club that fits your child’s interests. And if you’d like to get involved as well, why not become one of the many parents, volunteers, and community leaders sharing their time and talent with our 4-H youth?


Photo at top : 4-H members receive ribbons at a previous Franklin County Fair. Photo provided.

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Richard Gast is a retired Extension Program Educator and has been contracted by Cornell Cooperative Extension Franklin County to continue his informative and thought provoking articles.

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