Carnival rides, fried treats, games and blue ribbons are all things that are typically associated with the County Fair. However, as Summer days get shorter and the smell of Fall lingers in the evening air, young 4-H’ers are hard at work preparing for their big day.
The Randolph County Fair, held on September 9 – 13, at Camp Pioneer in Beverly WV, features a variety of 4-H and FFA Projects and exhibits from students ranging from 6 – 21 from all parts of Randolph County. Fourth Grade Education Day Committee Chair, Amanda Johnson, details what local students will be involved in during this year’s County Fair. “This year more than 100 4-H project will be exhibited between Sept. 9 – 12 including the Cloverbud exhibits, and 12 Know Your State Projects from participating 4th grade classes. Projects that receive a blue ribbon will also be exhibited at the WV State Fair, and at the Agriculture building with the culinary and produce exhibits.”
Spectators during the Fair will also have the opportunity to see the 4-H Livestock Show and Sale (Sept. 11th & 12th) with 46 4-H’ers showing and selling their livestock projects. Johnson adds, “Some of these kids have multiple animal species, we will have around 100 animals that the kids have raised. These kids provide daily care to their animals. They bathe them and prepare them for the show. The kids work together to maintain a clean and healthy environment for their animals and visitors. They spend a lot of time working and handling their animals to keep them tame and to be able to show the best qualities of their animal to the judge. These projects involve the whole family; parents provide help, guidance, support, transportation, and much more to help their child(ren) succeed in these projects.”
As visitors are planning their visit to the fair, consider that on September 11, there will be a Randolph County Fourth Grade Educational Day. On this day the Randolph County School System, Elkins FFA, and Tygarts Valley FFA all provide participants and helpers. The Randolph County School System also provides transportation to the fair. Nearly 300 fourth grade students will attend the Randolph County Educational Day including homeschool students, and a private school participating, in addition to the Randolph County School students.
The students can also enjoy eight educational stations: The Old Brick Playhouse, Farm Olympics (planned and ran by the Elkins High FFA), Butter Making, 4-H Science, Wood Carver, Barn Tour & Falcon Demonstration, Equine, and Candle Making. Students will also work in classes to make a scarecrow for display and judged. Each group will be lead to the stations by a FFA Student (Tygarts Valley). It is a fun and educational day for all those who participate. It takes multiple sponsors to make this event possible: Davis Medical Center, Tygarts Valley Lions Club, Allegheny Insurance, Randolph County WV 4-H Foundation, and the Randolph County 4-H Leaders.
When asked why 4-H is important for students, Johnson comments, “Getting involved with 4-H and the fair gives youth opportunity for leadership, opportunity to serve others, and opportunity to display their hard work. Participants learn to work as a team, good sportsmanship, benefits of hard work, and animal husbandry. There has also been research showing that, in comparison with other youth, young people in 4-H: experience greater educational achievements; have greater motivation and aspirations for future education; are more civically active; are more than 3.3 times more likely to contribute to their communities; have significantly lower drug, cigarette, and alcohol use; are 2.3 times more likely to exercise and be physically active; report better grades and higher levels of academic competence; are nearly 2 times more likely to go to college.”
For young 4-H’ers the fair provides an opportunity for them to see the final product of their work and share that with all who attend.