Wednesday, August 22, 2012

County Fair 2012

Antique Clothing on the line at our Heritage Exhibit at the County Fair

Well, summer is almost over. The official end to summer at our house is the final day of clean up at the county fair. I was a 4-H advisor for almost 20 years and have also served as a junior fair superintendent in the Home Ec/FCS department for almost 15 years. It is a position of lots of responsibility and no pay :) - you know the kind!
This year's fair theme was Race to the Fair. Clubs decorate booths with the theme and we try to come up with a slogan for the style review. Our favorite was Ready, Set, Sew. Unfortunately in today's world, many of the 4-H members no longer sew. Consumer Projects have become very popular. These projects (which do entail a lot of time and work on the part of the  member) explore the development of shopping, consumer tips, clothing care and wardrobe management skills while the member puts together a total look outfit. Luckily my board president came up with an alternative - Race for the Ribbon.
Our sad 4-H Quilt display. We usually have 8-12 pillows, 4-6 wall hangings and at least 2 large quilts.
My board is our county FCS board, consisting of teen leaders who submit an application in December to belong. They are the unpaid advisers unpaid assistants. I had so much going on myself this year and the members really stepped up and took over. We offer a clinic for members in sewing and consumer clothing, foods and nutrition and quilting in April and the members organized over 3 hours of informational sessions, wrote and performed skits, provided examples of previous projects, had a modeling clinic and answered questions for members and parents. I had several parents who attended come up and express thanks and compliments for all they did for the younger members.
Luckily my FCS girls know FFA boys who helped us lift the stage sections.
I try to come up with some fun activities, too. This year we traveled to Kent State University to visit the Fashion Museum where we saw so many interesting displays including Civil War Fashions from the Home Front, Beachwear from the 1890's, an exhibit of tie dying from the 1600's until now, and several displays from different designers. There is a great restaurant nearby, Rockne's, where we always stop for lunch. This year I scheduled all our meetings at coffee shops throughout the county. This proved very popular, too.
Discussing our next move.
Then the fair. My members are there with me in shifts on the day before the fair. We receive in all the projects and place them for display. We create exhibits for our foods and nutrition program and the quilt program and also work on decorations for the awards ceremony on Monday night.
Our finished stage!
I don't arrive until noon on Monday. We start by creating a stage, hanging curtains as a backdrop and decorating for the evening ceremony. Our goal is to finish in time to change for the ceremony!
Bumblebee themed 4-H place setting
On Wednesday we judge all the FCS projects that were not judged prior to the fair. I am usually there from 8 a.m. until 2. There is an award ceremony for these projects at 2:00 p.m. 
This one has a hog theme.
Our food projects are judged in July so that the winners can compete at the State Fair, which ends the week before our county fair.
This place setting, with the fair's race theme, complemented a grilling project and was created by one of our 4-H guys!
The placesetting is a part of your food judging. A few years ago, we decided to feature the four most outstanding placesettings at our fair. A trophy is given to the top placesetting in memory of a former superintendent who left us too soon.
This one was a little more fancy at judging. Sometimes families don't want to bring special items to the fair.
This year I only took one shift as building superintendent - 5-10 p.m. on Saturday. Then on Sunday - we arrive at 8 a.m. and try to have it all torn down and picked up by noon. In my younger days, that signalled the mad dash to the store for school clothes and supplies!
You have to pace yourself with Fair Food. Monday is a steak sandwich from the Cattlemen, Tuesday is a pork chop sandwich from the FFA, etc. Saturday night sitting in the barn, I don't have to balance on my lap. Here is my smashed potato, corn on the cob and bbq pork - only $6!

Miss Merry