According to House, 4-H is a positive youth development experience that engages young people in hands-on learning. Projects range from animals to environmental education. There are over 200 4-H projects.
“The goal is to encourage young people to explore and find their passion,” House said.
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Although some only associate 4-H with the fair, the fair is a showcase for the projects the children have worked on throughout the year. This year, more than 1,100 children aged 5 to 18 will participate in 4-H.
“The impact on the community is absolutely huge,” said Clark County Fairgrounds executive director Dean Blair. “I think FFA and 4-H and the work ethic they create, the good habits they create, the interaction with adults and with business. It is absolutely priceless.
Competitors show their pigs at the 2020 Clark County Fair. Preparing to show animals as part of 4-H helps kids develop a variety of skills. BILL LACKEY / STAFF
Credit: Bill Lackey
Credit: Bill Lackey
Blair recalled his personal experiences at the fair and with FFA, which he said taught him managerial and public speaking tactics.
“Responsibility, work ethic, good values, these are all the things that are so important that our company is a little short,” said Blair.
Thomas Edwards, a recent Springfield High School graduate, has been showing market lambs for 10 years and says 4-H is a generational tradition in his family. Her older sister and father both competed in 4-H.
“4-H is everything for me. I made my best friends with 4-H. I learned all of my life skills from 4-H, ”he said.
Edwards also said it helped him develop his social and leadership skills. In 2019, he was the King of 4-H, which led him to get involved in several community service projects. Edwards, who will attend Columbia University in the fall, said 4-H played a big role in her acceptance into the university.
“When I applied, a lot of my essays were tailored to my 4-H experiences. Once I was accepted my admissions counselor told me that anything about 4-H was what caught their attention, that’s how they knew I would be a great member of theirs. campus and their student body.
“This is my last year, and I’ve already spent a few emotional nights realizing that I won’t be able to do this any longer,” he said. “I think for many of us Fair Week is our favorite time of the year, more exciting than Christmas.”
Blair doesn’t expect to set attendance records this year, but is hoping for around 75,000 people, up from more than 83,000 in 2019.
The Clark County Fair, which regularly brings together around 80,000 people each year, creates an atmosphere for businesses to network and residents to spend money.
“Because it’s a local fair, I think most people like me want to do business with someone locally if possible, and what better way to meet and interact with local businesses than at the fair, ”said Blair.
Dean Blair, Executive Director of the Clark County Fair. Bill Lackey / Staff
Blair also says that the 4-H industry has an economic impact both on 4-H children who have to buy different supplies and on community members who buy the animals.
“They spend their money at the junior fair, and all of a sudden about three quarters of a million dollars for the gross sale comes back and is reinvested in the community as these young people turn around and spend that money in that community. “
In addition, auto dealer shows, commercial construction companies, outdoor vendors, and food vendors provide opportunities for over 100 different businesses to create sales and make connections.
How to get there:
What: Clark County Fair
Or: 4401 S. Charleston Pike, Springfield
When: Doors open daily at 8:00 a.m. from July 23 to July 30.
Cost: Admission is $ 6, which includes parking and all tickets to concerts and shows. Admission is free for children five and under. Trip tickets and wristbands are sold separately.