2015 S.D. State Fair showcase talents of more than 2,800 4-H members

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS, S.D. – During the 2015 South Dakota State Fair, more than 2,800 4-H members from across the state entered more than 8,000 exhibits showcasing their skills in the areas of livestock, judging contests, fashion review, public speaking, photography, sewing, robotics and numerous other static exhibits.

“The talent demonstrated by South Dakota youth through state fair exhibits was incredible,” said Peter Nielson, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program Director.

Judges and fairgoers echoed Nielson’s comments, added Audrey Rider, SDSU Extension State 4-H Events Field Specialist. “Feedback from visitors and judges alike was that they were impressed with the quality they saw this year,” Rider said. This was an important benchmark because this year the State 4-H Office changed State Fair entry rules from only allowing those exhibits which received purple ribbons, to any exhibits members and their family showcased at their local County Achievement Days and wanted to take on to the South Dakota State Fair.

“This really made the decision on which projects to take on to State Fair a family one. Because families knew what they were taking to State Fair, they could plan ahead,” explained Audra Scheel, an SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor.

Also a 4-H mom, Scheel’s daughter, Carissa, 9, showed goats, lambs and rabbits during the 2015 State Fair, Scheel said the entry allowance also allowed 4-H members to implement the feedback given to them by County Achievement Day judges. “Youth have always been able to make modifications to their projects between the County Achievement Days and State Fair, but now all youth had the option – whether they received a white ribbon or a purple ribbon.”

Learning how to use constructive direction “To make the Best Better,” as the 4-H motto states, is a cornerstone of 4-H programming. “The changes made to the entry qualifications by the State 4-H Office were made to provide the State Fair experience to all 4-H members,” Nielson explained.

Building for the future

Nielson is encouraged by the positive impact this new change had on 2015 State Fair 4-H exhibitors. He is eager to share another exciting change with the state’s more than 9,000 4-H members and volunteers in 2016 with the completion of the Nordby Exhibit Hall for 4-H, Youth and Community which is on schedule to be completed by June 1, 2016 on the southwest corner of the State Fairgrounds in Huron.

“4-Hers, volunteers and SDSU Extension staff have been working to raise $4.7 million for this building,” explained Nielson of the $4.2 million currently raised for the new 44,000 square-foot exhibit hall which will replace Clover Hall which was torn down in 2013 due to structural issues.

“Folks are generous! Thanks to the donations of families, individuals and organizations we only have $500,000 to go,” Nielson said.

Results and photos

Visit the State Fair page on iGrow.org to view photos and results for 4-H static exhibits, livestock shows and youth in action contests. This page includes links to results (as PDF files) and Flickr albums for each contest. Entire albums can be downloaded using the download arrow that appears on the cover image. Download individual photos using the download arrow that appears in the lower right hand corner of the image.