Iowa 4-H CloverCast

County Fairs

July 29, 2020 Iowa State 4-H Council Season 1 Episode 5
Iowa 4-H CloverCast
County Fairs
Chapters
1:25
County Fairs during quarantine
2:58
Queen Contest
5:26
Livestock Exhibits
7:29
Static Exhibits
9:36
Leadership roles at the fair
12:30
Ambassador county fairs
16:01
Favorite parts of fair
20:11
How county fairs differ
Iowa 4-H CloverCast
County Fairs
Jul 29, 2020 Season 1 Episode 5
Iowa State 4-H Council

Kristina, Michelle, and Austen are here on CloverCast: Sunburnt to talk about 4-H opportunities and experiences at county fairs. On this episode, they share their memories and information on county fairs. These include project areas, how 4-H is involved in the fair, contests and more! While speaking about their experiences, they also include lots of insider information to help you understand the buzz around county fairs. Be sure to tune back in on August 12th for the next and final episode where we will talk about the Iowa State Fair.

Resources:

 

Goals of our podcast:

1. To provide a safe opportunity for State 4-H Council members to engage with other 4-H’ers around the state in lieu of the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. 

2. To reach current 4-H’ers and potential 4-H’ers through thoughtful, informational, and personal discussion centered around 4-H learning opportunities and experiences.

3. To provide State 4-H Council members the opportunity to grow themselves personally and professionally as they take part in and learn about each step of the podcast production process.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Kristina, Michelle, and Austen are here on CloverCast: Sunburnt to talk about 4-H opportunities and experiences at county fairs. On this episode, they share their memories and information on county fairs. These include project areas, how 4-H is involved in the fair, contests and more! While speaking about their experiences, they also include lots of insider information to help you understand the buzz around county fairs. Be sure to tune back in on August 12th for the next and final episode where we will talk about the Iowa State Fair.

Resources:

 

Goals of our podcast:

1. To provide a safe opportunity for State 4-H Council members to engage with other 4-H’ers around the state in lieu of the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. 

2. To reach current 4-H’ers and potential 4-H’ers through thoughtful, informational, and personal discussion centered around 4-H learning opportunities and experiences.

3. To provide State 4-H Council members the opportunity to grow themselves personally and professionally as they take part in and learn about each step of the podcast production process.

[“Hey” Theme Music by Bensound]

Haley Jones: Welcome to CloverCast: Sunburnt. In this podcast, council members discuss 4-H opportunities, insight, and stories relevant to current 4-H’ers. Each episode will be hosted by different state 4-H council members and you can tune in every other Wednesday throughout the summer on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen. This podcast is made possible by the partnership between the Iowa 4-H Foundation, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development. Now, here are today’s hosts:

Kristina Goth: Hi, my name is Kristina Goth. I'm from Cherokee County and I'm an eight-year member in 4-H. 

Michelle Anderson: Hi, my name is Michelle Anderson. I am an eight year 4-H member and I currently lost my voice. And I’m from Buena Vista County. 

Austen David: Hello, my name's Austen David. I'm from Taylor County and I'm a nine year 4-H member. Thank you for joining us for the CloverCast: Sunburnt. This is our fourth episode, and we appreciate all the support. Today we are going to be talking about county fairs. County fairs are where 4-H’ers can showcase and meet up with other 4-H’ers from all over the county and just have fun. And this year things have been a little different for us. So, Kristina, how has your fair changed this year? 

Kristina Goth: Well, you know, county fairs are kind of the climax of the 4-H year so it’s a little sad that they can't be normal, but our County Youth Coordinator (CYC) has been working really hard to do the best she can. Currently we are doing a show-and-go so you bring your livestock in for the day. Umm..and then our static exhibits look a lot like the state fair, where you bring them in, you drop them off and then the judge judges them without you being there. There are no scheduled events or entertainment, but some of the shows—the livestock shows—are going to be live streamed, which is really cool because some family members from, you know, maybe they're across the country, they could still watch the show, even though they originally might not have been able to do that.

Austen David: Michelle, what are your plans for your county fair? 

Michelle Anderson: So actually, my county fair is going on right now! It is from the 9th to the 13th and our county decided to have a full fair. So, we have accommodated personal needs by providing masks when you enter the gate, masks at every show, and we are no longer allowed to have any sort of unpackaged food or water. Because we used to have donuts at every show, but now we just have to have individually wrapped things, so we now have granola bars and waters as well as that. But something that was quite interesting to me was I was the 2019 Buena Vista County Fair Queen which is actually a pretty fun memory for me as well. But even though the circumstances were a little bit different and I was unable to live some of the normal queen things, I still was able to pass down the crown at a large event, and I'm looking forward to how next year's queen will be able to see if there are any differences for her, but as of right now, our queen is still handing out ribbons and trophies, but we just wore a mask. So on the first day of the fair, and I participated and I wore a mask for a five and a half hour chicken show. So it's pretty interesting. Even though things are outside, we're still trying to keep people safe. 

Austen David: That's cool! Our county fair, they were going to have a queen contest and then they decided to cancel it. And the fair board actually ended up not doing anything. So, it's just the 4-H shows, and you pull in and then, they're doing a show-and-go, and you have to stall out of your trailer and like sheep and hogs and every species goes on a different day.

Kristina Goth: Michelle, you mentioned that fair queen was one of your favorite memories. Austen, do you have any favorite memories from the fair? 

Austen David: I definitely think that they come from when I was younger, it was just so much fun to meet people from other towns in our county—I’m big into showing cattle and there's a lot of kids that I'd never met before that were also big into showing cattle. So, it's fun to meet them. I remember one year we swam in the cattle tank and there's tons of pictures about that. And they pop over Facebook memories all the time. So that's just a fun memory to look back on.

Michelle Anderson: Speaking of Facebook memories, I was talking about my swine show that was going on Saturday and I was talking about, I can remember, I think, it was probably one of my first years in 4-H and I got a reserve class champion ribbon for being in our special swine program. And, you know, class champion is probably a little bit more exciting than reserved class champion, but as a fourth grader, you don't know any different. And so, I talked about that memory that pops up on my Facebook and there's a little child next to a huge big one little reserve class champion ribbon. So that was pretty exciting for me. 

Austen David: So, Michelle, you talked about showing livestock. Have you been showing livestock for a while? 

Michelle Anderson: So, I've been participating in our special swine program for all eight years of my 4-H career, I guess. And along with that, I’ve also participated in special sheep. When I was younger, I had more of an interest for the smaller livestock, so I had quite a few rabbits. I always thought that was super fun for me, but I always wanted to show cattle. And my mom's rule was when I got bigger, as that would be a better opportunity. So, four years ago I got my first very own steer. And ever since then, I've been hooked on cattle and I've had one steer ever since. 

Austen David: That’s fun. When you say special show, what do you mean by special show? 

Michelle Anderson: So, something that is actually quite a few favorite memories for kids around here, we have these special programs, and they allow kids who can't have these types of livestock at their home, or don't have the opportunity to, to be able to show sheep or swine. And this year, our fair actually started a special beef program as well. We have opportunities for kids to show beef, swine, or sheep and I've been participating in those programs for a long time. It's just so interesting to see fourth graders all just enjoying the goal of just raising and showing livestock, but they're at someone else's house so you just are responsible for walking them. 

Austen David: And do you have to be a 4-H’er to do those special shows? 

Michelle Anderson: You do have to be a 4-H’er in Buena Vista County to be able to participate in the special livestock shows. This year, our special swine show looked a little bit different due to social distancing and that sort of thing. We actually only had our pigs for two days. They loaded in, came for the show, and then loaded out the next day. 

Austen David: Do you show any livestock, Kristina? 

Kristina Goth: Well, I live in town, so I do not, but I really enjoy the static side of 4-H. My sister and I, we kind of have a little joke to call static entry day “Judgment Day.” But it's really not as bad as it sounds. You get to showcase your projects to judges and they give you really awesome feedback. I've never met a 4-H judge who doesn't care about you or want to see you grow and improve. So, their feedback is super, super helpful. One of my first years in 4-H I even met, I got the opportunity to meet one of these really, really cool judges. Now she is actually one of our family’s best friends. It's crazy though. The places 4-H can lead you and, you know, I never dreamed that it would take me to where I am, and it's helped me find what I'm interested in and has given me great examples of leadership like that judge. I can look up to them and strive to become more like them. 

Austen David: Yeah, 4-H is definitely, it really grows networking, possibilities, and just develops a lot of things throughout life. And I know static exhibits, those are so fun because it's a project that you spent so much work on, and you get to brag about it to someone and they're going to be nice to you and just help you grow in that. 

Kristina Goth: And I love walking through the exhibit buildings and seeing what all the other 4-H’ers have come up with and worked really hard on throughout the year. It's a lot of fun to see that. 

Austen David: Yeah, it is. I know for my County photography is huge and we have a wall just full of photos and, yeah, that's a big thing. A lot of kids look forward to bringing their projects down. One year I think we had someone make a trailer—a horse trailer—and so those projects are super cool. 

Kristina Goth: Yeah, for sure. Kids have all sorts of different talents and what I'm good at, some other people aren't. So, it's really, really cool to see, the different skills that 4-H’ers have.

Michelle Anderson: So, when I was young, I always had a goal to get on County Council because that's where I saw the leadership was in my County. I was always very interested in how these people had grown and it was just crazy to see all the types of leadership. When I got old enough to be on County council, I always felt very proud because they would always help at static, judging day, helping filter through kids. And along with that, they would also have statewide opportunities. So as I got more involved on County Council, I found out about opportunities like State Council and National 4-H Congress and certain things like that. I've always had a goal to go a little bit bigger and a little bit more beyond with my leadership. And as I became on state council, I still enjoy helping with static day, but instead of in my orange County Council shirt, it's in my red state polo. So that's exciting for me. 

Austen David: Yeah, that's so cool. One of my favorite memories is helping with the static exhibits too, and in that you get to write the judges’ comments and listen to what they have to say about every kid's project. It's always so refreshing to hear them talk about that. Another thing that I've really enjoyed doing is helping with the sheep show. I do not have sheep. I've been around sheep, but not that close to sheep. And so, I got to help with the sheep show last year, and it was a different experience, but it was so fun.

Kristina Goth: One of the cool things I've gotten to do through county council at my fair is a scavenger hunt. One of our council members had this idea. We all kind of pitched in and we made clues about different animals that were at the fair and different events that you could go see. 4-H’ers and kids could run around and try to find the next clue and learn a little bit more about the fair. That was a lot of fun to help with. 

Austen David: Yeah, that is fun! Did you start your scavenger hunt at your fair or who started it? What's the history on that? 

Kristina Goth: We just started it this past year. One of our members had a grant that would help pay for any of the supplies that she needed, as long as it was helping 4-H’ers and youth learn more about agriculture.

Austen David: That's awesome. I love how 4-H'ers help other 4-H’ers through all different kinds of things. 

Kristina Goth: Yeah, for sure! Michelle, you kind of touched on it, but as part of our role on state council, we act as ambassadors for other counties. Have you guys done anything with your ambassador counties in the county fairs?

Michelle Anderson: For the year of 2019 and our first year serving on state council, I was an ambassador for Clay County. I found out when their static day was, and they actually call it Achievement Day. And so, I went to their static judging and I wore my red polo and I helped comment write. As the day went on, I found out they have their style show and Pride of Iowa. And so I actually ended up being a speaker. So those of you who know me, I really liked to talk. I like to talk so much; I like to lose my voice sometimes. So yeah, here we are!

Austen David: Oh, that's fine. Last year I went to Adams County Fair as an ambassador. Adams County Fair is only 20 minutes from my house so it's super close, but it was so different than Taylor County Fair, where I usually go to. When I got there, I was just amazed at how different it was and just the way their static exhibits were going. I ended up being the Clover Kids judge, which was so fun to see all the little 4-H’ers. Well, they're not 4-H’ers yet, but they're going to be in 4-H. They were so passionate about their little projects. There's one girl who made a bean bag. She was just like—they were so smart and knew a lot about 4-H and were so excited to be in 4-H in the coming years. It was so fun to see.

Kristina Goth: Yeah, Helping with Clover kids is a lot of fun! My sister got the opportunity to help with Buena Vista’s county fair which is Michelle's fair. She got to be in a Clover Kid’s pet show. But it's not your normal pet show; they show stuffed animals. 

Austen David: Oh, that's so cute! 

Michelle Anderson: Ever since I came to the Buena Vista County Fair, I’ve been in 4-H myself. Our Clover Kids program has gotten big in the last few years, so I actually don't know much about that. It's crazy to think that certain programs go on at your fair and you really don't understand all about it.

Austen David: Yeah, there's so much that happens at the fair and one of my favorite parts about Clover Kids and the fair is all the little Clover Kids running around at the fair. They're so excited about everything about 4-H: all the little shows and all the exhibits there. They're pumped to be one of the big 4-H’ers and do all those projects. 

Kristina Goth: Yeah, it's really neat to see how excited 4-H’ers get about the fair. My sister and I started our own sewing club called The Thread Heads. We kind of noticed that there were a lot less entries in Sewing and Needle Arts than maybe Photography. We kinda wanted to change that since sewing is becoming a lost art so we started our own club. It's a lot of fun to see our members come to the fair with their projects and get all excited about it. 

Austen David: So, sewing club, do you make quilts or...? 

Kristina Goth: Kinda. Yeah, at the beginning of the year, we start off small. Just a little Kleenex covers and things to kind of work on the fundamentals of sewing and how to sew a straight line and pivot and things like that. Then by the end of the year, we start making quilts, which is a lot of fun. 

Austen David: That's interesting! I know I've done Sewing and Needle Arts, but I knit. I do not sew. But now that I think about it, it's a really good idea that you started a club. I know there's not a lot of Sewing and Needle Arts projects in our county, so that's really cool.

Kristina Goth: I think another one of my favorite parts about county fairs is just how excited the community gets about it. Our extension staff, they make little “fair-cation” videos, they call it. They have Hawaiian 4-H shirts. They walk around the fair and they pretend like they're on a little vacation and they just show some of the highlights of each day of the fair. It's just a lot of fun to watch them and they're so funny. 

Austen David: That's so fun. One of the things that I love about fairs, there's so many people in the community that don't know what you do at home, or don't understand static exhibits or even livestock. And they walk up and ask you, and it's like you can be an ambassador for what you're doing at home. So that's always super cool. 

Michelle Anderson: Something that I want to include in the light of livestock this year, we actually had something called celebrity showmanship. Unfortunately, we didn't have a lot of attendance from the crowd other than 4-H members. But what he had is community celebrities—so like someone from the radio, someone from a car dealership, the fairway manager. Along with that, we also had our 2020 fair queen. So, we had a full show of these community celebrities showing in a class of swine, sheep, and cattle. They just tried to learn how to drive a pig and be able to scratch a calf. It was just so entertaining. They had no idea, some of them, and these people had never even been in the ring before. That was so fun! I loved it so much!

Austen David: Were they with a 4-H member whenever they were showing? 

Michelle Anderson: Yes. So, when the animal was brought out, it was brought out by a 4-H member. At the beginning, they drew for what 4-H member they were going to be paired with. So, as the 4-H member brought out their livestock, they would be able to walk with them. You would have a few minutes to try and teach them, and then you would just shadow them throughout the show in case they needed help.

Austen David: That's a cool way to advocate for what you're doing. And that's a fun way to get more people involved throughout the community in what you're doing. 

Michelle Anderson: I think it really shows some of those adults the side of work that they don't necessarily understand, that showing your livestock not only requires a lot of work, but a lot of understanding to be ready and prepared to be in the show ring. But something else that my fair has always had that I really enjoyed participating in is called Ag Olympics. We do basic tasks that are on the farm and then we do some silly tasks. We push kids in wheelbarrows, and we go through an obstacle course. We carry water buckets and we usually lift seed sacks over certain things, and we race each other in age groups. So that's always super fun. And if you win, you get a sort of prize. So yesterday I won free ice cream! 

Austen David: One thing that our fair just started this past year was a master showmanship contest. So each showmanship winner from every species show gets to go on and compete, may get the opportunity to show one of each species. So, if you've always shown sheep, then you get the opportunity to show a cow and that's totally different. It was fun to watch. Last year, it was fun to watch and just see how the kids reacted to what they were showing that year. 

Michelle Anderson: My fair has an overall showmanship contest as well. And this year we're even doing it a little bit differently. We are having a test beforehand and then going to the show. I'm pretty sure it's today. This year, our fair’s five days so it's been a lot more fun to not have to squish a bunch of shows together or certain activities that might cause your friends to have to have another commitment. We always have our fair right after the 4th of July so it's always a usually really busy time. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes it's bad. Because the holiday can help you get projects done, or it can cause you to be busy. So let's see they’re are give or take. 

Austen David: I know for our fair, on Wednesday we go in and that's when static exhibits are judged. Then on Thursday, the fair starts so the fair board has all of their activities start up and then Sunday it's all over. 

Kristina Goth: That's really similar to how my fair is too. There's just so many events that are jam packed right in that week so there's always something that you could be doing. One of my favorite things to watch is something that my county 4-H does. It's called the Pride of Iowa. Each year they pick a different theme and then 4-H’ers get to make a little snack for everyone that walks in that has to do with that theme. Their ingredients all have to be made from Iowa. So, whether you use sweet corn or something like that, and it's really interesting to see how creative 4-H’ers can get.

Michelle Anderson: Do any of you guys have a communication day or do you always do Pride of Iowa and different communication events at your fair? 

Austen David: We always have it the week before our fair and it's in a different location. I don't think it's even at our fairgrounds so it's really not a part of the regular fair. But then they showcase—if they do fashion review—they can showcase their outfit at the fair.

Kristina Goth: We have a little bit of both just to make sure that there's no scheduling conflicts. So, if it works for you to go the week before, that's what you can do. Otherwise you can go right at the fair. 

Michelle Anderson: Oh, that's cool that you get the option to pick. I like that! 

Austen David: Does your fair, Michelle, have communications day at or during the fair?

Michelle Anderson: Our communications day is actually before the fair and we will participate in the fashion review, extemporaneous speaking, any sort of those communication events. Then you perform that for a judge and you can actually go and watch it. It's just like any other event, but we don't have it at the fairgrounds kind of similar to Kristina, like you said, just to deal with scheduling conflicts. Then our last day of the fair we showcase what they won, and we have a little achievement show, I guess, for that day. 

Austen David: In two sentences, how would you guys sum up your county fair?

Kristina Goth: I would say that my county fair is like a mini reunion. I get to see a lot of my friends and other 4-H’ers from my county that I don't necessarily go to school with. And it's a lot of fun to see them.

Michelle Anderson: Our county fair is based on leadership. It doesn't matter how old you are. Everyone's willing to lend a helping hand. 

Austen David: That's one of the best parts about 4-H is that everyone's willing to lend a helping hand. 

Michelle Anderson: Thanks everyone for tuning in to CloverCast: Sunburnt. We hope to see you all for our next episode, highlighting the Iowa State Fair, which will be on August 12th. Thanks again! We hope you all enjoy hearing about our county's fairs!

All: Bye!

[“Hey” Theme Music by Bensound]

County Fairs during quarantine
Queen Contest
Livestock Exhibits
Static Exhibits
Leadership roles at the fair
Ambassador county fairs
Favorite parts of fair
How county fairs differ