Upcoming 88th annual Huntington County 4-H Fair is ‘all about the kids’

One of the great things about the Huntington County 4-H Fair is that while nearly every event is the same as in past years, those participating in them often change, as they grow older and take on different projects at the fair, while new 4-H members come up through the ranks in hopes of taking home the top ribbons.

The 88th annual fair runs from July 13 to July 27, with the theme “We Are the Dreamers of Tomorrow.”

“It’s all about the kids,” says Rae Ann O’Neill, 4-H youth development educator. “They’ve been working hard on their projects all year and they’re just really excited to show what they’ve done. That’s why we all do it. A lot of them have been working with their animals for a long time and working on their projects for a long time, so a lot of preparation and hard work goes into it.”

One of the first events to take place is the 4-H Royalty judging contest. The event begins at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 13, at First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall. Five girls and two boys are competing in this year’s pageant.

Contestants will be judged on their 4-H record, a 3-to-5-minute speech, personal interview, impromptu question, poise and business and formal wear. The culmination of the contest and the crowning of a winner will happen at 8 p.m. in First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall.

One new rule that will be in place again for the second year is that there will only be one champion of the contest, either a male or female, followed by a first runner-up and second runner-up. For the Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant, the highest placing female who meets the state fair requirements will be eligible to represent Huntington County at the state fair.

“We don’t discriminate in 4-H,” O’Neill says. “We pick the best; we don’t automatically pick one gender over another. We pick the best kids.”

The royalty contestants will also ride in the 4-H parade, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at Etna Avenue behind the former Marsh building. The parade route winds down South Jefferson Street at Etna Avenue to South Briant Street,
through Hier’s Park and then to the Huntington County Fairgrounds. The county’s 4-H clubs will be represented with floats, marching units and tossing candy to kids along the route, kicking off the start of this year’s fair.

A new event last year that will make a reappearance this year is the Karaoke Night on Tuesday, July 24, at 7 p.m. on the Heartland REMC Outdoor Stage.

“There were tons of people there watching last year,” O’Neill says. “Some of us just liked to watch, and some liked to sing. It was a lot of fun.”

Also this year, the Area XI Tractor Operators’ Contest returns, to be hosted by Huntington County. The event takes place Saturday, July 28, starting at 8:30 a.m. at the fairgrounds. 4-H champions from as many as nine Northeastern Indiana counties will compete for the right to move on and compete at the Indiana State Fair.

The Huntington County Farm Bureau, in conjunction with the Indiana State Fair FAIRs Care Program, will hold a food drive during the 4-H auction, starting at 10 a.m. and lasting the duration of the auction. The auction itself begins at 9 a.m. Food donations will be collected in the northwest corner of the in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena. Free tickets for general admission to the state fair will be given for each donation of five non-perishable food items until the supply is gone. All donated food items will be donated to Love In the Name of Christ.

Throughout the fairgrounds during the fair, merchants, businesses, local organizations and vendors will have spots set up to share information and wares. However, the Commercial Tent is gone this year, pulled because the fair was losing money on having it, fair officials say. Food vendors will have plenty of fair-style favorites available for purchase, including the perennially popular pork chops and milk shakes. O’Neill says additional chairs and tables may be added to the former Commercial Tent space.

The highlights of each day at the fair include:

Saturday, July 14
• 4-H Horse and Pony Show, which begins at 9 a.m. at the Chief LaFontaine Saddle Club grounds, located at 792N-200W, Huntington.

Sunday, July 15
• The 4-H Horse and Pony show concludes, starting at 9 a.m. at the saddle club.

Tuesday, July 17
• 4-H Fashion Revue judging, 9 a.m. at Lincoln Elementary School.

• 4-H Consumer Clothing judging follows at 11 a.m. at Lincoln Elementary.

• 4-H Cat Show, 6 p.m. in the First Federal Savings Bank Community Building.

Thursday, July 19
• 4-H Project judging starts at 9 a.m. in First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall, followed by Mini 4-H exhibits from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday, July 20
• Open Class Exhibit judging takes place at 8:30 a.m. in the Larry & Joyce Keiffer Family Living Building.

Saturday, July 21
• Goat Showmanship, beginning at 9 a.m. in Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

• 4-H Dairy Show, noon in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

• 4-H Poultry Show, noon in the Livestock Express Poultry Pavilion.

• 4-H Rabbit Ambassadors Contest, 1 p.m. in the First Federal Savings Bank Community Building.

• Master Gardener Programs, “Vegetable and Leaf Stamping,” at the Heartland REMC Outdoor Stage Area.

•  4-H Sheep Show, 5 p.m. in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.
Sunday, July 22

• 4-H Goat Show, 9 a.m., in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

• 4-H Market Rabbit Show, at 12:30 p.m. in the First Federal Savings Bank Community Building.

• Antique Tractor Parade, winds through the fairgrounds beginning at 5:30 p.m.

• Worship Service, 7 p.m. on the Heartland REMC Outdoor Stage.

• “Snyder” performs at 7:30 p.m. on the Heartland REMC Outdoor Stage.

Monday, July 23
• 4-H Swine Show, 8 a.m., in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

• Ladies Day Activities, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the First Federal Savings Bank Community Building. Speakers will cover topics about bees, woodcrafts and cooking with herbs.

• Antique Tractors go on parade through the fairgrounds beginning at 5:30 p.m.

• 4-H Consumer Clothing and 4-H Fashion Revue start at 7 p.m., followed by the Friend of Extension Award, Recognition of 4-H Leaders, 4-H 10-Year Awards and Recognition of Graduating 4-H Members, all on the Heartland REMC Outdoor Stage.

Tuesday, July 24
• Youth Day events will be posted at the fair office.

• Beef Show, 9 a.m., in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

• Master Gardener Youth Program, starting at 1 p.m. at the Heartland REMC Outdoor Stage Area.

• 4-H Breeding Rabbit Show, 2 p.m., in the First Federal Savings Bank Community Building.

• Pet and Hobby Parade, 7 p.m., in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

Wednesday, July 25
• 4-H Starter Calf Show, 8 a.m., in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

• Supreme Showmanship contest, 2 p.m., in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

• 4-H Awards Program and Scholarship Presentations; Parade of 4-H Champions, at 6 p.m. in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

• 4-H Spirit Night, 7:30 p.m., in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

Thursday, July 26
• 4-H Livestock Auction, 9 a.m., in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.
Schedules with the complete listing of 4-H Fair events can be obtained at the Purdue Extension-Huntington County office, 1350 S. Jefferson St., Suite 2, Huntington, or at several businesses around town, including The TAB, 1670 Etna Ave.