4-H’ers celebrate 2014 project year at the South Dakota State Fair

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Farm Forum

BROOKINGS — More than 3,100 4-H’ers entered just under 10,000 entries during the 2014 South Dakota State Fair held in Huron Aug. 28-Sept. 1.

“State Fair is their opportunity to showcase what they’ve been working on all year long – this is THE big event for 4-H,” said Audrey Rider, SDSU Extension State 4-H Events Field Specialist.

She explains that for South Dakota’s almost 9,000 4-H members, the S.D. State Fair is a celebration of the 2014 project year and also marks the beginning of the 2015 project year. “The fair provides a great opportunity for 4-H’ers to watch their peers from counties across our state compete and gives them ideas for projects they may want to work on in 2015,” Rider said.

This fair was also one of anticipation, explained Peter Nielson, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program Director. 4-H’ers, volunteers and SDSU Extension staff have been working to raise $4 million for the construction of the new 44,000-square-foot Nordby Exhibit Hall for 4-H, Youth and Community, replacing Clover Hall which was torn down in 2013 due to structural issues.

“Folks are generous! Thanks to the donation of families, individuals and organizations, we have raised more than $3.14 million,” Nielson said.

With this kind of momentum, Nielson hopes that by 2015 4-H’ers will be enjoying the new complex at the fair. In the meantime, during the 2014 fair Nielson said everyone made the best of displaying static exhibits in a smaller space, the National Guard Armory Building. “We saw a lot of flexibility and adaptability. Everyone came together to make sure display areas looked good and celebrated the counties they represented,” Nielson said.

Due to the space constraints, this meant each 4-H’er had to select only two static exhibits to showcase versus the traditional 10 exhibits. These exhibits were displayed in trade-show style booths decorated to celebrate each South Dakota County. To make the best of the temporary solution, a contest was set up. Based on utilization of space, posters and photos showing 4-Hers in action and a few other criteria, Yankton and Davison and Hanson Counties won the competition and will receive tin county welcome signs.

“The 4-H spirit of community was felt throughout the fair and the more than 400 volunteers who came out to help,” Rider said.

To view photos and all results for static exhibits, livestock shows and other 4-H contests, visit iGrow.org.