A county tradition: Food, animal showcases, tech demonstrations round out 81st 4-H fair


The Hamilton County 4-H Fair, now in its 81st year, will return this week at the fairgrounds in Noblesville.

From July 18 to 22, hundreds of 4-H’ers will show various projects, the culmination of their work during the past year. While nearly all projects – ranging from cake decorating, craft, art and photography, animals, robotics and more – will be on display for public view, several annual events seek to get the general public involved.

Each day of the five-day event, the fairgrounds at 2003 Pleasant St. open at 10 a.m. and closes at 9:30 p.m.  Admission and parking are free.

Here’s a breakdown of what non-4-H’ers can take part in:


New options are available almost each day, with offerings from 4-H’ers and local farmers and the Hamilton County Extension Homemakers Group.

  • July 18: Grilled cheese sandwiches, Extension Homemakers’ spaghetti and meatballs
  • July 19: Rabbit & Poultry BBQ, Extension Homemakers’ chicken and noodles
  • July 20: Pork Producers’ BBQ, Extension Homemakers’ meatloaf
  • July 21: Sheep Producers’ BBQ, Extension Homemakers’ beef and noodles
  • July 22: Beef Producers’ BBQ
  • Every day: Joint Producers’ BBQ (5 to 9 p.m.)


Perhaps the largest event of the 4-H Fair open to the public is the Hamilton County Youth Talent Contest. Two divisions make up the July 22 event. The junior division will take place at 2 p.m., and the senior division will take place at 4:30 p.m. Each division will have 20 contestants, and winners from each of the 12 categories will be eligible to perform in the Indiana State Fair Talent Show in August. Categories include a range of vocal, dance, instrument and gymnastics performances. Application forms are due by noon July 20 to the Hamilton County Extension Office.


A crowd favorite is the annual homemade ice cream contest. Returning at 6:30 p.m. July 20, the contest has two divisions, hand-crank or electric freezers, and two age groups – youth (18 and younger) and adult (19 and older). In a span of 40 minutes, contestants must make and freeze their batches, which will be judged on flavor, texture, consistency and presentation. Prizes will be awarded, including one for most original flavor. Registration forms and recipes are due to the Hamilton County Extension Office or online at extension.purdue.edu/hamilton by 10 a.m. July 19. The event is free for contestants and spectators.


A popular annual event, the Pet Parade will take place at 6 p.m. July 21 in the rabbit tent, just west of the O.V. Winks building. Participant dress up with their animal, following a creative theme. All participants must be between the ages of 2 to 8 and will receive a ribbon. Awards will be given to the most creative. Anyone interested in participating in the Pet Parade should arrive at 5:30 p.m. to register. All animals must be vaccinated and must leave the fairgrounds immediately after the event.


The annual 4-H Jam is hosted by the Purdue Extension to give kids age 5-12 a taste of 4-H programs. 4-H Jam begins at 9 a.m. July 22, and anyone interested in participating must register by July 18. The event will showcase projects related to agriculture, public health, communication and more. Kids will learn about the 4-H pledge, explore animal barns, meet a member of the Queen’s Court, complete a take-home craft and experience the 4-H exhibit judging process and receive a ribbon of their own. The event is free. Register at bit.ly/4hjam.


Capping the 2019 fair will be the fourth annual Color Me Green Fun Run July 22. Participants will be sprayed with water and green powder as they run along a short course adjacent to the fairgrounds’ tractor-pull strip. Registration will begin at 11 a.m. for the run kickoff at 11:30 a.m. Cost is $10 per person. The first 50 registrants will receive a T-shirt. Registration forms can be found at extension.purdue.edu/hamilton.


  • Blood drive –3 to 7 p.m. July 18 and 19
  • Birds of Prey – 5 p.m. July 18
  • Robotics demonstrations – Noon to 4 p.m. July 18
  • Family movie – 9:15 p.m. July 18, showing “Incredibles 2”
  • Clogging exhibition – 7 p.m. July 18
  • Llama costume contest – 5 p.m. July 19
  • Antique tractor pull – 1 p.m. July 20
  • Kids crafts – 4 p.m. July 21, free spin art projects from Caravan Classes
  • Antique tractor parade – 5 p.m. July 21

For a complete schedule of events for each day, visit extension.purdue.edu/hamilton.