Fun at the fair: Annual 4-H showcase returns in full force this year

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Hamilton County 4-H Council board member Kathy Williams said although it’s exciting to see a return of all the Hamilton County 4-H Fair favorites like food vendors and the animals, she’s most excited for children to have the full opportunity to compete this year. The 4-H fair will be July 15 to 19 at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2003 Pleasant St., in Noblesville.

The fair was held in 2020 but was not open to the general public. Animals stayed only for their program before leaving and certain events were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People were disappointed, because it is part of the summer,” Williams said. “You have Fourth of July, and then you have the fair and then the state fair. I do think it’s part of a lot of peoples’ summer itinerary. They want to come out to the fair and see the animals and taste the food.

This year, Williams and Hamilton County Purdue Extension Director Susan Peterson said the fair will mirror the 2019 fair.

“In 2020, really the focus was just on the 4-H exhibits,” Peterson said. “Like any time really, our fairs focus on the 4Her, the exhibits and the program and highlighting that, but the difference of 2020 is there was no public really involved. We did livestreaming of things to keep the numbers and population down. We didn’t have food. We didn’t have extra events for families.”

Food and special events will return this year, and a livestream will be available on Hamilton County Television.

“There is still a focus on the exhibits, the animal shows and the 4-H members, but our producers, our extension homemakers and our food will be back,” Peterson said. “We are bringing in things like two different blood drives and live music most every evening.”

Other fan favorites, such as the farmer Olympics, also will return.

“It’s a cool thing where kids do teams and they do farmer Olympics like running with a pail of water or a watermelon or things where you can get dirty, wet and muddy and fun things like that,” said Williams, who also serves on the Hamilton County Extension Board.

Because the animals left immediately after their shows in 2020, there will be two royal showmanship events and two supreme showmanship events so that last year’s winners have an opportunity to participate. Royal showmanship includes llamas, chickens, goats, dogs and rabbits, and supreme showmanship includes cattle, horses, pigs and sheep. The 2020 showmanship events will be at the beginning of the fair and the 2021 showmanship events will occur on the last day of the fair.

“That’s a special event, and kids work many years to try to get into this showman program,” Williams said. “It’s really an honor to be a royal or a supreme showman.”

Other events include a pet parade, where children bring in their pets and dress them up; a birds of prey performance; and a homemade ice cream competition.

Williams said she expects the fair to be busier than ever.

“I think they are going to be excited to be back,” Williams said. “Every event going on lately, lots of people have been attending, so I don’t see anything different happening with this.”

“We are excited to have the public back,” Peterson said.

Entry, events and exhibits are free. Parking also is free.

Another benefit of the fair, particularly for adults, is getting to catch up with friends or make new ones.

“You’ll see a lot of people just standing around talking to each other because it’s a great place to gather with people you’re not used to seeing on a daily basis,” Williams said. “Sure, the kids are really excited because they didn’t have the same atmosphere last year and, thank goodness, we could at least have what we had for them because they work so hard on the projects, we wanted to give them the opportunity to shine. This year, we will have a lot of people who come out and watch.”

The 4-H Fair will follow the CDC guidelines and recommend individuals who are unvaccinated to wear masks. Because many 4-H participants are too young for COVID-19 vaccinations, the fair staff will clean high-touch points, offer hand sanitizer and ask attendees to practice social distancing. The Indiana State Dept. of Health will offer a vaccination clinic during the fair as well.

For more, visit extension.purdue.edu/hamilton/article/4559.

A map of the fair. (Submitted image)

Schedule of events

The Hamilton County 4-H Fair will be July 15 to 19 at the county fairgrounds, 2003 Pleasant St., Noblesville. The schedule of events is as follows:

July 15:

  • 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Exhibits and displays open
  • 9 a.m.: Bucket calf show
  • 9:30 a.m.: Senior llama showmanship
  • 10 a.m.: Crops judging
  • 10 a.m.: Horse and pony English show
  • 10 a.m.: Poultry show
  • 10:30 a.m.: Dairy show
  • 1 p.m.: Pygmy goat show
  • 1:30 p.m.: Llama pack obstacle
  • 3 to 6 p.m.: Indiana Blood Center blood drive
  • 4 p.m.: Extension Homemakers flower show
  • 5 p.m.: Birds of prey demonstration
  • 6 p.m.: Purdue Extension celebration
  • 6 p.m.: Rabbit ambassador contest
  • 7 p.m.: Clogging exhibition
  • 7 p.m.: Supreme showmanship contest

July 16:

  • 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Exhibits and displays open
  • 8:30 a.m.: Rabbit show
  • 8:30 a.m.: Beef grooming contest
  • 9 a.m.: Chicken barbecue
  • 9:30 a.m.: Intermediate llama showmanship
  • 10 a.m.: Horse and pony Western show
  • 11:30 a.m.: Sheep fitting contest
  • 1:30 p.m.: Llama PR obstacle class
  • 2-7 p.m.: Indiana Blood Center blood drive
  • 3 p.m.: Meat goat show
  • 5 p.m.: Llama costume contest
  • 6 p.m.: Dairy goat show
  • 6 p.m.: Beef barbecue contest
  • 6 p.m.:  Leaping llama exhibition
  • 7 p.m.: Sewing and consumer clothing revue
  • 7:30 p.m.: Walk-a-llama (open to the public)
  • 8 p.m.: Blue River Band performance

July 17:

  • 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Exhibits and displays open
  • 8 a.m.: Swine show
  • 8 a.m.: Horse and pony dressage
  • 8:30 a.m.: Public speaking contest
  • 9 a.m.: Master gardener Q&A
  • 9:30 a.m.: Llama junior showmanship
  • 11 a.m.: Demonstration contest
  • 1 p.m.: Master gardener Q&A
  • 1 p.m.: Antique tractor pull
  • 1 p.m.: Indiana WILD Animal show
  • 1:30 p.m.: Llama field obstacle
  • 3 p.m.: Extension Homemakers’ food and craft show
  • 5 p.m.: Cat show
  • 5 p.m.: Dog drill team demonstration
  • 6 p.m.: Horse and pony contesting show
  • 6 p.m.: Hedgehog Hannah animal show
  • 6:30 p.m.: Homemade Ice Cream Contest
  • 7 p.m.: Youth swine exhibit
  • 8 p.m.: That Is What She Said performance

July 18:

  • 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Exhibits and displays open
  • 9 a.m.: Master gardener Q&A
  • 9:30 a.m.: Sheep wool judging
  • 10 a.m.: Worship service
  • 10 a.m.: Horse and pony hunter show
  • 10 a.m.: Sheep show
  • Noon: Pocket pet show
  • Noon to 4 p.m.: Caravan Classes kids’ crafts
  • 2 p.m.: The Band of Breton performance
  • 1 p.m.: Lawn and garden tractor contest
  • 1 p.m.: Walk-a-llama (open to public)
  • 2 p.m.: Youth pedal tractor pull
  • 2:30 p.m.: Parents’ llama show
  • 4:30 p.m.: Youth sheep exhibition
  • 5 p.m.: Antique tractor parade
  • 5 p.m.: Do-Si-Squares dance performance
  • 5 p.m.: Food and microwave champion auction
  • 6 p.m.: Pet parade
  • 7:30 p.m.: Farmer Olympics

July 19:

  • 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Exhibits and displays open
  • 9 a.m.: Beef show
  • 9:30 a.m.: 1/16th tractor pull
  • 10 a.m.: Horse and pony versatility show
  • 10 a.m.: Llama youth judging
  • 11:30 a.m.: Color Me Green fun run
  • 1 p.m.: Rocket launch
  • 2 p.m.: Youth talent contest
  • 3 p.m.: Royal showmanship
  • 4:30 p.m.: Youth talent contest
  • 7 p.m.: Supreme showmanship

July 20:

  • 5:30 p.m.: Livestock auction

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