4-H: ‘To make the best better’

Post 32/2021 Friday 30 July . . . Let’s hear it for farm and city kids and their leaders involved in 4-H. In 2016, there were 4-H clubs in more than 50 countries. Applause for the 4-H organization near you. Their green with white H’s clover design emblem stands for Head, problem solving; Heart, emotional development; Hands, skills development; and Health, physical development. 4-H’s purpose: “Engaging youth to reach their full potential while advancing the field of youth development.”

Their motto: “To make the best better.”

Welcome to a peek at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, July 23-31. We went Tuesday, Seniors Day; it was hot, humid, a day you could almost hear the corn grow.

In a TV interview fair board president Trent Hostetler encouraged people to stay hydrated and to enjoy the many food selections and other aspects of the annual event. In a 40-page insert (with plenty of ads) in The Goshen News he said, “It is my absolute pleasure to welcome you, our guests, back to the Elkhart County 4-H Fair! We will never forget how heartbroken we all were when we made the heart-wrenching decision to cancel the 2020 fair. However, we are ecstatic to bring back the greatest fair in Michiana and continue to be a showcase for more than 3,800 4-H youth.”

The pictures give the “tip of the iceberg,” as the saying goes. We just happened upon the harness racing when we arrived, then spent a few hours roaming about, visiting displays in the Home and Family Arts building, walking through some of the animal barns, avoiding crowded places, bearing the heat, having lunch in the shade, missing a good deal.

The fair board provided numerous hand-washing and sanitizing stations and social distancing in grandstand seating.

Sports are a big thing at the fair, including cornhole tournaments, strongman competition, harness racing, parade 5,000 road run, 3-0n-3 basketball tournament, horseshoe pitching, tractor pull, rodeo, arm wrestling, and demolition derby. We were happy to leave events such as the tractor pull and demolition derby to people who groove on that turf.

We were pleased to note that for a few hours during Disabilities and Special Groups Day carnival rides were toned down, slower and free for fairgoers with sensory sensitivities or other needs.

The concert series grandstand shows included ZZ Top, We Are Messengers, Tracy Byrd, Chris Lane, and Darci Lynne. Other sponsored recurring entertainment included the Pompeyo Family Dog Show, Bee Exhibit and Butterfly Encounter and more. Senior Citizens’ Day featured a Senior Citizen Talent Contest. And, a big event, the selection and start of the year-long reign of the 4-H Fair Queen took place on day one when one young candidate was selected from among 28 contenders.

For nine days, July 23-31, the fair engaged the community and visitors from near and far, with the theme: “HONOR THE PAST / CELEBRATE THE PRESENT / EMBRACE THE FUTURE.”

Make the best better.


4 thoughts on “4-H: ‘To make the best better’

  1. I haven’t been to a fall fair since Grant used to show a calf in Bolton, Ontario. I did have the good fortune to learn how to cook, bake and sew through 4-H during my younger years. Seems like yesterday. A lick of that ice cream would taste good right now!


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