4-H’ers turn in projects for Jackson County Fair


Kelsey Schneider took her log cabin made from Popsicle sticks and proudly set it in front of Tomi Carroll in the 4-H building at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.

The 13-year-old Brownstown 4-H’er spent three days working on the project and anxiously waited to hear the feedback.

“I got the idea from my sister’s boyfriend, and he helped me with the design,” she said of the display entered in construction toys.

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It also featured an outhouse, a river and surrounding landscape.

“I decided to add the little extra details,” she said.

After Carroll told her it was a great effort and was unique, Schneider grabbed her ribbon and placed it on the display rack.

She was one of hundreds of 4-H’ers to turn in projects Wednesday evening at the fairgrounds in Brownstown. There are about 70 categories where participants can make or present something for judging.

The participants first would check in with an adult before going through the judging process, where they received feedback before receiving a ribbon and placing their project on display. Judges would then later pick champions and grand champions for each category.

Heather VonDielingen, 4-H youth development educator, said seeing all of the participants and volunteers come together is what makes the program and fair special.

“It’s exciting because now, we get to celebrate publicly the experiences of our 4-H’ers and all of their hard work,” she said. “The 4-H’ers are excited because they’ve worked hard on their project, and they want to show it off.”

An active member of 4-H, Schneider also turned in projects in child development, gift wrapping, photography, spots, geology and more.

Working on her sports project was her favorite, she said. Her focus was on how to prepare for a softball game, and each step in preparation was detailed on a poster board with photos and details.

“You have to stretch, warm up on your hitting and pitching to be ready,” she said.

4-H has had a positive impact on how she interacts with people. It also has given her the opportunity to meet new friends.

“I enjoy being out and meeting new people, and you always learn life lessons,” she said. “You learn how to talk to judges and present things.”

She also enjoys showing off her work to friends who are not in 4-H

“I like to meet my friends at the fair and show my animals,” she said.

Conner Wynn, 13, of Freetown agreed that 4-H is a great experience. He turned in projects in construction toys, aerospace, shooting sports, woodworking and more.

“I like being able to make something and show everyone,” he said.

His favorite was the clock he made. Wynn said he spent two or three weeks making sure the details were right and the clock was functioning properly.

He turned in a rocket he made for the aerospace contest.

Wynn said he didn’t have the correct paint, and some of the wings were not quite as straight as they should be, but he was happy he was able to complete it.

“It took me about two or three hours,” he said.

VonDielingen said the variety of projects, events and programs 4-H offers is what makes it a successful organization. Jackson County 4-H’ers and their families have recently had even more options to choose from as organizers have found ways to expand its offerings.

“We’ve been trying to find new experiences for kids, meet the needs of 21st century learners and more,” she said. “Their 4-H experience may be a weeklong robotics camp and not have a project in the building. That’s all right because they’re still getting a quality youth development experience.”

That approach has led to the creation of robotics camps, Lego camps and this year a nature camp attended by 47 kids.

“We have traditional, nontraditional and project-based clubs,” she said.

While they have created more innovative approaches to the program, they also have maintained the traditional offerings, and the program has grown to about 800 kids enrolled.

There are 30 community clubs that are broad based with a variety of interests. There also are project-based clubs.

“We have a goat club, horse and pony club, cat club and more specialized ones,” VonDielingen said.

All of it is made possible through volunteers throughout the year and the weeks leading up to the fair, she said. The organization has about 180 volunteers who help throughout the year, and many take multiple roles during the preparations and week of the fair.

There also were 75 judges who helped with the contests.

“It’s exciting to see it all come together,” VonDielingen said.

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Fair calendar


9 a.m.: 4-H cat show, Show Arena 1

9:30 a.m.: 4-H horse and pony show, horse arena

3 p.m.: Open class swine show, Show Arena 1


8 to 10 a.m.: Open class steers scaled at scales

10 a.m.: Jackson County Fair horse show, horse show arena

Noon: SIAA Hoosier Classic Angus show runs concurrently with the open class breeding beef show with the Mid-Southern Steer Classic to follow, Show Arena 1

1 p.m.: The Rev. Dr. Michael Ziegler with The Lutheran Hour, grandstand (free admission)

1 p.m.: Buildings are open for public viewing; open class sheep show, show arena 2; New Bethany Church, Kirby Stailey, Justyn Underwood and The Sodbusters, antique building stage

2 p.m.: Registration for horseshoe pitch, near Gate 6

2:30 p.m.: Horseshoe pitch

2 to 5 p.m.: The Sounds of Dreams, pavilion

5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Registration for frog jumping frenzy contest, Show Arena 1

6 p.m.: 4-H bubble bash, 4-H building

6 p.m.: “Uplifting Christian Worship” presented by the Reddington Christian Church, pavilion

6 p.m.: Registration for the Jackson County cornhole pitch

6:30 p.m.: Jackson County cornhole competition, Show Arena 2

5 to 7 p.m.: Entry (weigh-in) for 4-H boer goats

7 p.m.: Bridge building demonstration, antique building annex

6:30 to 8 p.m.: Frog jumping frenzy contest, Show Arena 1

8 p.m.: Jackson County Fair queen pageant, grandstand ($5 for adults, $2 for ages 6 to 12 and free for under 6)


7 a.m.: All 4-H swine entries must be penned

8:30 a.m.: Weigh-in of 4-H swine, gilts and market barrows, Show Arena 1

8 to 9 a.m.: Register 4-H rabbits, rabbit barn

9 a.m.: 4-H rabbit judging, rabbit barn

9 to 11 a.m.: Register 4-H poultry, Show Arena 2

10 a.m.: 4-H aerospace rocket launch, grandstand

11 a.m.: 4-H poultry judging, Show Arena 2

3 p.m.: 4-H swine gilt show and showmanship, Show Arena 1

3 p.m.: 43rd annual Jackson County Spelling Bee, pavilion

4 p.m.: Closing for 4-H livestock entries (except dairy)

4 to 5 p.m.: Check in 4-H registered heifers

4 to 8 p.m.: “Drones and Technology in Agriculture,” Jackson County Farm Bureau building

4 to 10 p.m.: Industry showcase, Building 4

5 p.m.: Judging of 4-H boer goat and myotonic goat show, Show Arena 2

6 p.m.: Colt Wienhorst and Company, antique building stage

6 p.m. to close: Poor Jack Amusements (coupon night with unlimited rides with $20 bracelet or $17 with Poor Jack coupon)

7 p.m.: Nightly antique machinery demonstration behind the antique building; bridge building demonstration, antique building annex

8 p.m.: Cody Ikerd and the Sidewinders, grandstand ($10 for adults, $5 for ages 6 to 12 and free for under 6)