One part of a Jackson County 4-H’er’s fair duties is over before the Jackson County Fair begins this weekend.
On Wednesday, Trenton Burton, 10, of Dudleytown, visited the fairgrounds in Brownstown to have his construction toys project — a tractor with a planter made of Legos — judged.
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All next week, that project will be among nearly 1,400 on display in the exhibit buildings at the fairgrounds put together by the 745 4-H’ers in kindergarten through 12th grade.
Now, Trenton can focus on showing cows, chickens and rabbits at the fair, which begins Sunday and continues through July 30.
In only his second year of regular 4-H, after doing Mini 4-H, Trenton said he doesn’t have a problem with getting out in front of all of the people at the show arena.
“I like that it’s an experience with animals,” the St. John’s Lutheran School at Sauers fifth-grader said. “I like to have fun and learn new things.”
To ensure his animals were fair-ready, Trenton said he spent a lot of time on his family’s farm working with them. That consisted of two or three hours each day.
“It’s good to learn and encourage everybody else younger than you to do it,” he said.
Growing up on a farm was Trenton’s inspiration for his Lego project. It took him 12 hours to complete, spread over a few days.
“It’s just fun to build stuff,” he said, noting that it was the most challenging Lego project he has done.
Also turning in projects Wednesday at the fairgrounds was Jimena Leal, 13, of Seymour, an eighth-grader at St. Ambrose Catholic School in Seymour.
The third-year 4-H’er had her painting, ceramics and photography projects judged.
For her painting, she painted her friend on a tree swing with a sunset in the background.
She said it was good to get the judge’s feedback on her work.
“It helps me by realizing the mistakes I did and to do them better next time,” Jimena said.
Her ceramics project was a turtle-shaped bowl, while her photography poster featured a series of pictures, including one of flowers, one of her sister and some from her trip to Mexico last year.
Jimena said she joined 4-H because her friends were doing painting and photography projects, and those matched her interests.
“I tried it, and I liked it,” she said. “I like having fun and realizing how (4-H) is really important for you.”
The 4-H experience will help because she’s interested in a career as an artist or a photographer.
“I think it helps me by becoming more of what I want to be, like an artist,” she said. “I think that really would help me in the future.”
At the beginning of the week, 4-H’ers participating in creative dramatics and public speaking were prejudged at Brownstown Elementary School, and those involved in sewing and consumer clothing showed off their projects for judges.
Jeanie Schneider, 4-H sewing chairwoman and 4-H council member, said boys and girls in Grades 8 through 12 can do up to two wearable sewing projects, while the younger 4-H’ers do one. All of them also can do one nonwearable project.
Wearables include various articles of clothing, such as shirts, skirts, shorts, dresses and aprons. The judges look at the overall appearance of the garment on the model, focusing on how it fits, ensuring the hems are even and seeing how they accessorize.
“They are looking at the whole total package,” Schneider said.
Nonwearables include pillows, quilts and quillows. The construction judges look for even seams and make sure there are no loose threads.
The rules for each project vary depending on the division. As a 4-H’er advances, projects are more difficult and require more skills.
The nearly 45 girls and boys participating in 4-H sewing will learn the judges’ results during the annual fashion revue at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the fairgrounds grandstand.
Jackson County follows state fair rules, so any sewing project that wins here is eligible to go to the state fair, Schneider said.
At noon Friday, the Jackson County Fair Fashion Show will be conducted at the grandstand. While that’s not 4-H-related, Schneider said she encourages the 4-H’ers to give it a try, too.
“It’s another opportunity to get them out in front of a crowd, give them some more confidence, and then they are judged and they may end up winning something there,” Schneider said.
Schneider worked with many of the 4-H’ers during sewing workshops throughout the summer, and she said it was fun to see them and the other kids present their finished projects Monday.
“That’s where their personalities shine,” she said. “When we come here, I get to see the kids that haven’t come to the workshop. There are other people in the community, like grandparents and aunts, that are helping kids sew, so that’s another way our clothing project grows.”
Walking around the stage modeling the clothing they made is good for the 4-H’ers, Schneider said.
“It’s just wonderful,” she said. “Even though they don’t like modeling, it’s good for the future for them because it gets them out of their comfort zone. It gets them up in front of people, and for the rest of their life, they are going to be in front of somebody somewhere, so it’s a confidence-builder for them.”
This is Vivienne Siefker’s first year in 4-H, and the 10-year-old from Seymour said her cousins inspired her to join. Along with sewing, she did a scrapbooking project, and she will be showing Boer goats at the fair.
For sewing, Vivienne made a pillow and a skirt. The skirt featured a pattern with her favorite colors — turquoise, blue and white. The hem was adorned with white pompom balls, and smaller blue pompom balls were on a band a few inches below the waist.
The Immanuel Lutheran School fifth-grader said it took a couple of months to complete.
“Cutting out (the fabric) took probably 10 minutes,” she said. “Cutting out the pieces and then sewing the pieces probably took a couple of hours. Then putting on the band was one of the hardest. It took a couple of days.”
Vivienne said modeling her outfit was “a little nerve-racking,” but she said she was relieved when it was over, and it made her feel proud to show off something she made.
Now that she knows how to sew, Vivienne said it’s a lifelong skill.
“When you’re older, you don’t have to go out to the store or you can fix some clothes,” she said.
Emily Reinbold, 10, of Freetown, participated in sewing for the second year. Again this year, she made a skirt but this time chose a pattern with red, white and blue stars.
The Brownstown Elementary School fifth-grader said she was able to complete the project by attending three 4-H sewing workshops this summer.
Since she participated in the fashion revue last year, she said it helped her feel comfortable this year.
“It was kind of scary last year,” she said. “I felt more confident (Monday), and I wasn’t as scared as last year.”
Reinbold’s mother, Tammi, said it’s great that her daughter knows how to sew.
“She goes out to my mom’s, and her and my mom make different things — pillows, pillow cases, quilts — so she’s learning things that she can actually use,” Tammi said. “If you can’t find it in the store, some things are cheaper to make them than to go buy them. To me, it can be a money savings. I think everybody needs to know how to sew.”
“This is definitely a life skill, and there are people that can make a living doing things like this,” she said. “It’s great to see this many kids sewing. It is really, really great.”
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Jackson County Fair schedule
7 to 10:30 a.m.: Weigh-in/check-in Jackson County carcass barrow and open class breeding show.
8:30 a.m. to noon: All entries due in Horticulture Building (open judging to follow closing deadline).
8:30 a.m.: Entry of 4-H cats in the show arena.
9 to 11 a.m.: 4-H projects, garden, mini-garden, floriculture, potatoes, plant science, soybeans and wheat will be community-style judged at the 4-H Building.
9 a.m.: 4-H cat show in the show arena.
9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Food and food preservation entries due.
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Inside entry for the antique and homestead display, including photography exhibits, in the Antique Building.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Outside entries featuring Oliver tractors at the antique farm and homestead display.
10:30 a.m.: All breeding swine divisions penned and registered for swine shows.
3 p.m.: Judging of breeding swine in show arena.
5 p.m.: Deadline for FFA projects at the FFA Building.
5 p.m.: Spurs and Wheels Saddle Club fun show in the horse show arena.
6 p.m.: Jackson County carcass barrow show in the show arena; 2016 pork princess crowned prior to swine show, followed by the open novice showmanship.
8 p.m.: Competitor check-in for the third annual Jackson County Grill-Off, sponsored by Brownstown Fund for the Arts. Participants must be present.
10 p.m.: 4-H swine not in open class swine show accepted at this time.
Poor Jack Amusements opens in the evening.
8 to 10 a.m.: Open class steers scaled for noon show. Entry fee $20.
10 a.m.: Open class breeding beef cattle must be in place.
10 a.m.: Horse show in the horse show arena.
Noon: Open class beef breeding show, SIAA Hoosier Classic Angus show concurrent with previous show and Mid-Southern Steer Classic in the show arena.
Noon to 3 p.m.: No 4-H swine accepted due to cattle shows.
1 p.m.: All buildings are open for public viewing.
1 to 4 p.m.: Dried flowers (Jan Sipes) and hat mold and marbles (Bob Cunningham) demonstrations at the Antique Building.
2 p.m: Judging of the third annual Jackson County Fair Grill-Off.
2 p.m.: Draft horses and mules penned in the horse barn.
2 to 5 p.m.: The Sounds of Dreams orchestra presentation at the pavilion.
3 to 6 p.m.: Sure Shot Turkey Dusters on the Antique Building stage.
4 p.m.: Bicentennial parade, including horse, buggy, carriage, buckboard, wagon, bicycles, antique tractors and classic cars and classic trucks, from Ewing (rain or shine).
5 to 9 p.m.: Soap making (Kelli Simmons) and wood carving and whittling (Larry Carter and friends) demonstrations in the Antique Building.
5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Registration for Frog Jumping Frenzy contest in the show arena.
6 p.m.: Uplifting Christian music presented by Reddington Christian Church at the pavilion.
6 to 8 p.m.: Entry for 4-H boer goats.
6:30 to 8 p.m.: Frog Jumping Frenzy contest in the show arena, sponsored by WZZB Classic 1390.
8 p.m.: 4-H cattle not entered in open classes accepted.
8 p.m.: Jackson County Fair queen pageant at the grandstand; $5 for adults, $2 for children 6-12 and free for children 6 and younger; sponsored by the Jackson County Fair Association.