As enrollment rises, 4-H officials anticipate more animals, exhibits

Bethany Marcum (middle) shows off her cat, “Snuggles,” to judges Lori Kline (left) and Karen Farber at last year’s Huntington County 4-H Fair Cat Show in the First Federal Savings Bank Community Building. This year’s cat show is set for Monday, July 15.
Bethany Marcum (middle) shows off her cat, “Snuggles,” to judges Lori Kline (left) and Karen Farber at last year’s Huntington County 4-H Fair Cat Show in the First Federal Savings Bank Community Building. This year’s cat show is set for Monday, July 15. TAB file photo.

“More” is promising to be “better” this year at the 89th annual Huntington County 4-H Fair, which officially gets underway on July 12 and runs through July 26 at the Huntington County Fairgrounds.

“Our enrollment is up for the first time since 2013, so we are excited about that. That means we have new families and new kids that will be participating,” says Rae Ann O’Neill, 4-H youth development coordinator. “We are anticipating more exhibits in the buildings and more animals.”
This year’s fair theme is “Huntington County – Head, Heart, Hands and Health,” that make up the four H’s in 4-H. O’Neill says the theme describes the whole 4-H program.

“Our whole program revolves around that, so within everything that we do in 4-H, it revolves around those four,” she says.

The “head” involves making good decisions in putting projects together and taking care of animals, she goes on to explain. The “heart” involves kindness, community service and helping others. “Health” is taking good care of bodies – the members as well as their animals. And “hands” encourages them to reach out and help other 4-H members, as well as people in the community.

Together, the four H’s form the four leaves in the 4-H clover, a prominent symbol found throughout the fairgrounds as a reminder of the 4-H Pledge: “I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my Health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.”

The 4-H Fair Parade kicks off the main two weeks of events that largely take place at the Huntington County Fairgrounds, located at 631 E. Taylor St., Huntington. The parade will be held Friday, July 12, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The parade route starts at South Jefferson Street at Etna Avenue, then heads southeast to Briant Street, then turns north to the fairgrounds. The 4-H Royalty Contest will follow at 8 p.m. Friday in First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall.

New activities are planned for fair days this year, including Ladies’ Day and Youth Day, but there are also some new things at this year’s fair that most fairgoers will not notice, O’Neill says. One of those is new water lines installed at the fairgrounds. She says the project has led to better service throughout the property.

“That has been a major project, and we’re really excited to have that done,” she adds.

Another amenity that has been put into place this year is a cooling station, located in the restroom foyer at First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall. People seeking relief from some of the hot weather that has traditionally beleaguered the fair can take a break and find some air conditioning to help them cool down. Benches will be set up for folks to take a load off while they enjoy the cooler air.

Besides animal competitions and 4-H project exhibits, O’Neill says there are other events at the fair that shouldn’t be missed.

Ladies Day, which is set for Monday, July 22, is also a very popular time at the fair, but O’Neill stresses that it’s not just for women. Men are also invited to attend.

“We have speakers coming in doing special programs. They’ve got a person teaching floral arranging, and they also have a person teaching about rain gardens. Those programs are free,” she says. “Also, Parkview Huntington Hospital is doing a program that day.”

On Youth Day, which is Tuesday, July 23, the Huntington County Master Gardeners will offer a gardening program for kids at 1 p.m., and a kiddie pedal tractor pull competition will begin at 2:30 p.m.

“People could come for lunch, then the kids could go to the gardening program, and then they can stay for the kiddie pedal tractor pull,” O’Neill says. “Also that night, our dog club will be doing a demo that night.”

Another popular event that takes place that night is the Pet and Hobby Parade, which starts out in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena. Kids are invited to dress themselves and their pets up and show off their styles. Those who don’t have live pets are invited to gussie up their favorite stuffed animal instead and join in on the fun.

Live entertainment on the Heartland REMC Outdoor Stage area is also on tap, with BackWater playing on Sunday, July 21, at 7 p.m.

On Monday, July 22, nationally known singer and minister Ray Perryman will perform in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena following the conclusion of the 4-H Swine Show.

And on Tuesday, July 23, everyone can be a star with karaoke returning to the Heartland REMC Outdoor Stage with Diva-Jam Entertainment. Sign-up begins at 6:30 p.m. and the singing gets underway at 7 p.m.

The highlights of each day at the fair include:

Friday, July 12
• 4-H Parade, 6:30 p.m.
• Royalty Contest, 8 p.m. at First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall.

Saturday, July 13
• 4-H Horse and Pony Show, beginning at 9 a.m. at Chief LaFontaine Saddle Club, 792N-200W, Huntington.

Sunday, July 14
• Cowboy Church, 8 a.m. at Chief LaFontaine Saddle Club.
• The 4-H Horse and Pony Show concludes, starting at 9 a.m. at the saddle club.

Monday, July 15
• 4-H Cat Show, 6 p.m. at First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall.

Tuesday, July 16
• 4-H Fashion Revue judging, Lincoln Elementary School, 2037 E. Taylor St., Huntington.
• 4-H Consumer Clothing judging, Lincoln Elementary.

Thursday, July 18
• 4-H Project judging begins at 9 a.m. at Lincoln Elementary School, followed by Mini 4-H exhibits from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at First Merchants Bank Heritage Hall.

Friday, July 19
• Open Class Exhibit judging takes place at 8:30 a.m. in the Larry and Joyce Keiffer Family Living Building.

Saturday, July 20
• Goat Showmanship, 9 a.m., Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.
• 4-H Dairy Show, noon, Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.
• 4-H Poultry Show, noon, Livestock Express Poultry Pavilion.
• 4-H Rabbit Ambassadors Contest, 1 p.m., First Federal Savings Bank Community Building.
• 4-H Sheep Show, 5 p.m., Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

Sunday, July 21
• 4-H Goat Show, 9 a.m. in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.
• 4-H Market Rabbit Show, 12:30 p.m., First Federal Savings Bank Community Building.
• Antique Tractor Parade begins at 5:30 p.m. and proceeds through the fairgrounds. The tractors will be on display on the west end of the fairgrounds.

Monday, July 22
• 4-H Swine Show, 8 a.m., 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 floral arranging, rain gardens and a presentation by Parkview Huntington Hospital.
• Antique tractors go on parade through the fairgrounds at 5:30 p.m.
• 4-H Consumer Clothing and 4-H Fashion Revue starts 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 23
• Youth Day events will be posted at the fair office.
• 4-H 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., First Federal Savings Bank Community Building.
• Kiddie Tractor Pull, 2:30 p.m., on Beck’s Hybrids Blvd. Sponsored by the Huntington North High School FFA Chapter.
• Dog Demonstration presented by the Canine Capers 4-H Club, 6 p.m. in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.
• Pet and Hobby Parade, 7 p.m., Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

Wednesday, July 24
• 4-H Starter Calf Show, 8 a.m., Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.
• Supreme Showmanship Contest, 2 p.m., Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.
• 4-H Awards Program and Scholarship Presentation; Parade of 4-H Champions, at 6 p.m. in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.
• 4-H Spirit Night, 7:30 p.m., Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

Thursday, July 25
• 4-H Livestock Auction, beginning at 9 a.m., in the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena.

Saturday, July 27
• Area XI 4-H Tractor Operators’ contest, Adams County Fairgrounds, 102 Park St., Monroe.

Schedules with the complete listing of 4-H Fair events and activities can be obtained at the Purdue Extension Huntington County office, 1340 S. Jefferson St., Suite 2, Huntington, or at several businesses around town, including The TAB, 1670 Etna Ave.