STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
It’s been 30 years since the former Skippack Elementary School became Montgomery County’s 4-H center.
Since then it’s been the home base that supports the 4-H clubs, which continue to bring a variety of engaging enrichment opportunities that teach responsibility and work ethic to local youths 5-18.
When the annual Montgomery County 4-H Fair comes around the second week in August to the village of Creamery, the community celebrates. Four-H program associate and educator Amy Shollenberger estimated that close to 10,000 people came to the 4-H center for last year’s fair.
Highlights include the fabric sale coordinated by the Creamery Crafters 4-H club; the preparation of the “World’s Largest Sausage Patty;” the Open Pet Show; live music, including The Daisy Jug Band and country/southern rock singer Jeremiah James; contests; games and food.
This year’s Open Baking Contest will have a “Sweet and Salty” theme. “It’s not limited to cupcakes or … anything that’s baked,” Shollenberger said, mentioning that the contest rules — as well as the rules for the Open Pet Show — would be posted to the 4-H/Montgomery County Penn State Extension website http://extension.psu.edu/Montco4HFair. Entries for the Open Baking Contest should be submitted between 6 and 7 p.m. Friday Aug. 8.
Taking the place of the Celebrity Goat Milking event this year will be a Goat Dressing Obstacle Course on Saturday. Competitors will have to dress their goats in jeans and socks and lead them through the course. As 4-H member and Trappe resident Lila Bechtel will tell you, goats aren’t famous for being cooperative.
“My mom says: ‘I can’t wait for the fair so we can get rid of your annoying goat’, because they keep screaming until you feed them,” said Bechtel, who will be bringing two market goats to the fair. More than three weeks before the fair, she realized she had been overfeeding them, “so we’ve been having my horses chase them around for exercise,” she said.
“My (horse) club’s doing pony rides (at the fair),” Bechtel added.
The 4-H Fair is the culmination of the project year for each of the 20 clubs, and offers the chance to show family, friends and the public their achievements. Some of the easiest to find will be the livestock and animal science club members, who will display their animals and answer your questions about how they cared for the animals.
Tayler Garges of Telford will be showing a market lamb, a market hog and a market steer at the fair. “I always look forward to the fair. But then I realize it’s August and it’s going to be school soon,” she said.
The demonstration schedule includes model rocket launching, quilting, a fashion revue, kiddie tractor pulls, an alpaca agility course, seeing eye puppies, and the horse clubs’ Parade of Breeds. According to Shollenberger, there are three county 4-H horse clubs, with a grand total of 100 members.
“The kids in the rabbit club will be doing rabbit hopping demonstrations,” she said.
You are also invited to show off your talents by submitting your own projects in the fair’s Open Classes categories: Homemade Food, Clothing and Textiles, Crafts, Art, Vegetables, Flowers, “Other Home Garden Project,” “Science or Engineering,” and Photography. “We know there’s people that garden and cook and do woodworking,” Shollenberger commented.
These Open Classes are for all ages, and are judged by novice (children under 8), youth (ages 8-18 as of Jan. 1 of this year) and adult divisions. You don’t even need to be a Montgomery County resident to enter, but there are specific guidelines that you should read on the fair website.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: The 2014 Montgomery County 4-H Fair.
WHEN: 4 to 9 p.m. Aug. 7, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 8 and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 9.
WHERE: The Montgomery County 4-H Center, 1015 Bridge Road, Skippack Township.
ADMISSION: $5 for parking is good for all three days.
INFO: Call (610) 489-4315 or check out www.facebook.com/MontgomeryCounty4HCenter.