Most of us look forward to the county 4-H fair. After all, who doesn’t enjoy fair food and seeing the projects 4-H’ers have spent hours completing. This year, the Miami County 4-H Fair will be held June 24-30. The week of the fair is the culmination of a year-long planning process executed by many volunteers.
The Miami County Purdue Extension employs four staff members. Two of the staff are employed by Purdue University and the other two by Miami County. With the assistance of the 4-H Council, which is comprised of volunteers, the Extension’s primary role is the coordination of the 4-H program. The driving force behind the fair is a group of around 25-30 volunteers who make up the fair board.
In addition to the fair board and 4-H Council, volunteers from the county also participate as 4-H leaders, 4-H superintendents and Pancake Day volunteers. It takes a lot of dedicated volunteers who are invested in both our youth and our communities to make the fair a success.
While the fair is usually a week-long event for many, it is a year-long planning process for the many volunteers who make it happen. Almost immediately after the fair, staff and volunteers begin debriefing and determining what worked well and what changes need to be made for next year. They also determine the dates for the next year’s fair and sign contracts for carnivals.
For the 4-H side of the fair, the month of August is focused on the Indiana State Fair, and September is filled with wrapping up reporting. Then the process starts all over again in Oct. 1 with an enrollment deadline of Jan. 15 for the 4-H program. January through June is filled with club meetings, putting together enrollment packets, securing judges, the Pancake Day in February, workshops and various youth camps for students in grades three through high school. In Miami County, the 4-H program involves just under 500 youth.
The fair board’s months are filled with raising money, recruiting people, determining and providing equipment needs, managing the grounds and coordinating upcoming fair events.
So, while you are enjoying the fair this summer, whether in Cass County or Miami County, make sure you thank one of the many volunteers who make it all happen. To volunteer to help out with next year’s fair, contact your local Purdue Extension office. You can also visit their websites at either www.extension.purdue.edu/Miami/ or www.extension.purdue.edu/Cass/ to find out what other services the Extension office provides to our communities.