680 different projects are checked into the Exhibit Hall at the fair

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The 2015 Switzerland County 4-H fairgrounds filled with excited students and lots of different projects on Saturday morning as 4-H members brought their projects and checked them into the Exhibit Hall.

“It went really well,” Extension Educator Peg Ehlers said of check in day. “We’ve got a wonderful variety; and the 4-Hers have just done a phenomenal job of bringing in top quality educational items for the fair.”

This year there are 274 children enrolled in the Switzerland County 4-H program, which is about the same as last year. This year the 4-H program nationally changed the way that students enrolled for 4-H, but the new system had no impact on the number of students wanting to be a part of the program. Along with that, there are 47 children in the Mini 4-H program.

Those students had their choice of a wide variety of project areas from which to choose a project; with many students taking more than one project. Pair with those projects all of the exhibits that the county’s Mini 4-H members have brought to exhibit.

This year, Saturday saw 680 projects come to the fairgrounds for judging.

Later this week, many more projects will come to the fairgrounds as the Open Class exhibits, which can be entered by anyone in the county, are brought in for judging.

With many county children choosing to raise an animal as one of the their project areas, students are also required to enter an Exhibit Hall project in order to show their animal at the livestock arena.

With animals in the arena taking center stage each night and the auction this Saturday; as well as activities in and around the grandstands and events like the Baby Contest and the Little Miss and Mister contest; sometimes the Exhibit Hall projects don’t get the attention and appreciation that they deserve.

Those projects are foundational elements in the history of the program. With all of the choices, there’s something to peak every young interest.

“Those values, along with the STEM initiative throughout the United States (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math); are fundamental in the 4-H program,” Ehlers said. “We see the excitement and the anticipation in the faces of the 4-Hers when they check in their projects.”

For many children, the woodworking or photography or gift wrapping project is just as important as a livestock project.

“They’ve got a lot of development and growth from taking this project and the learning experience that they’ve had,” Ehlers continued. “They’ve got a well rounded opportunity for all the youth to see that there’s this perspective of whatever it may be. It may be woodworking. It may be collections. There are also organizational skills developed. Things like how to read a blueprint. From the livestock, maybe they’ve worked a year and a half with that particular animal. It also give students the opportunity to think about different careers.”

The Exhibit Hall will be open today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) from 4-9 p.m.; and on Saturday from 2-6:30 p.m.

The Open Class Exhibits sponsored by the Switzerland County Homemakers Clubs will be open for public viewing today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) from 5-9 p.m.; and on Saturday from noon until 9 p.m.