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Family Guide to Fair Exhibits

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It’s that time of year again, Fair Season! The delicious smells of the midways, the sights and sounds of carnival rides and livestock in the arenas. During Fair Season, youth throughout the state dress up with pride in their 4-H green attire and prepare for what’s to come…Fair Exhibits! Fair Exhibits can range from artwork to plants to animals and finally the epic fair booths. What is most important in all of the categories for youth and adult exhibitors is knowing:

1. What counties are allowed to participate?

2. What and how many categories you may enter?

3. Exhibit requirements.

Here, we’ll cover preparing for fair booths and animal exhibits but you can find multiple links below for the state and local fairs with more information on exhibit entries and requirements.

FAIR3Fair booths are the highlight of static displays at the fair! Organizations like 4-H use fair booths to visually communicate with potential clients and members to make them aware of what we offer. In order for this communication to be effective, you must prepare yourself a checklist. First, research the fair you want to enter and determine the deadline and registration requirements. Second, determine if you’re receiving a booth premium. If so then determine how much the fair pays out for booth space. These questions are not intended to portray you as selfish, but you will need to determine how much your club is willing to spend on supplies based on the premium could receive. Third, determine the size of your booth. Often times being outside of booth boundaries or what is allowable can be a point deficit on the scorecard so definitely research this prior to committing. Fourth, pick your theme and layout for the booth. This is also a great time to get commitments from members and parents on helping with the preparation, setup and breakdown of the booth. Delegate tasks so everyone feels like they have contributed. Fair booths can be a great way to create a sense of Belonging in your club by having all members feel like they’re part of the 4-H Family! Check out Exhibits and Displays” below for a full checklist and more information!

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4-H’er talking to the judge of the Rabbit Show at Walton County Fair.

Animal Exhibits are widely known, loved, and expected at fairs. The fair gives many people the opportunity to see, learn and interact with animals they may not normally have access to. Most importantly, livestock exhibits and shows give youth the ability to gain Mastery through 4-H Project Learning which is highly experiential and teaches youth a multitude of life skills. Preparing animals for exhibit at a fair is similar, but also different from preparing other types of exhibits:

First, research the fair’s deadlines and registration. Often there are deadlines for acquiring ownership of your animals. Be sure to check for these acquisition and birth date deadlines in advance to ensure the ability participate. Second, check the vaccination and health certificate requirements for your animal and secure an appointment with a veterinarian to have this completed. Third, be on time or early to check in. Sometimes there is only one Agriculture Inspector and a long line of exhibitors. With some animals they have to do on site blood testing, so be prepared with your paperwork and be patient. Last, determine if the fair provides the food and bedding, and whether exhibitors are required to care for their animals daily. This is not only important for the nutritional well-being of your animal but also for their emotional well-being.

If you’re a fair veteran, 4-H alumni, or just someone interested in benefiting the youth of your community, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office to find out how you can become a 4-H Volunteer and share your expertise…everyone has one!  Next week, 4-H Agent Angel Granger will share her top 10 tips for showing a pig at the fair.

Helpful Links:

Florida Panhandle Fair Opportunities: