PRINCETON — The 2014 Bureau County 4-H Fair is buzzing with excitement.
From the project exhibits to the animals shows, the fair provides an opportunity for club members to showcase their hard work, view new projects, mingle with old friends and enjoy a sense of accomplishment when a blue ribbon comes their way.
The exhibit buildings opened early Thursday morning, as club members began to gather at the Bureau County Fairgrounds. The day was busy with judging of general projects, a fashion revue and the dog obedience show.
Jena Ohda, 9, of Walnut was among many prepping her dog before the show. This was her first year showing her golden retriever, Oliver.
Her grandma, who is a 4-H leader, encouraged her to try out the sport. She said the most important thing about practicing for a dog obedience show is teaching the dog to “heel” and “sit.”
“It shows the dog that it’s not going to be able to get away,” she said.
What’s the secret to training a dog? Ohda said it’s patience.
“He just wants to go, go, go all the time,” she said, referring to Oliver.
Dusty Kolb, 11, of Malden was also gearing up for her first time at the dog show.
A couple years ago when she first discovered the show, she enjoyed seeing the different types of dog breeds and how they acted, which inspired her to join in on the fun.
With this being her first year, she was feeling a little nervous about the show, but said the experience would be worth it, as she hopes to be back at next year’s show.
Haley Sebby, 12, of New Bedford stood off to the side as she focused herself before showing her golden retriever, Jake.
It was Sebby’s second time showing Jake at the 4-H dog show. She said the most challenging part about training Jake is getting him to listen, but dog treats usually help out with the problem.
This year’s 4-H fair was a first for Sue Booker in her position as Bureau County 4-H Program Coordinator.
As she made her rounds at the different activities going on throughout the evening, she stopped to mention one thing she’s noticed about this year’s fair is the amount of excitement when decorating the club booths.
“For my first year in Bureau County, it was really nice to see all the clubs work together and come up with the themes and have so much fun doing it,” she said. “We’ve got some wonderful projects here. The kids continue to amaze me with the things that they can do.”
In talking about the 4-H program, Booker said it provides a wide variety of interests for the young people involved — from robotics to animal science to interior design and cultural studies, 4-H offers a little bit of everything.
“The biggest thing I notice coming into any 4-H fair is how much pride the kids have in their projects and how much hard work they’ve put into it. They’ve chosen a topic; they’ve stuck it out; they’ve done the work; and they’ve presented something they are proud of,” she said. “If you walk though any of the barns, any of the kids will stop and tell you about everything they’ve created, so it’s a great activity to get your kids involved in.”
Throughout the year, 4-H participants learn independence, the ability to follow direction, the ribbon system, which is based on the ability to interpret the fair book and implement something that has been asked of them. Students, most importantly, gain a sense of belonging.
“They belong to a club in a nurturing environment. It’s somewhere you can express yourself, feel safe and learn new things,” she said.
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