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Leah Street
Extension Educator - 4-H Youth Development, McLean County
University of Illinois Extension
1615 Commerce Parkway
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone: 309-663-8306
FAX: 309-663-8270

McLean County 4-H Fair

McLean County 4-H Fair

What is 4-H? Why is it a part of the fair?

What is 4-H and Why is it Part of the Fair?

4-H is a national organization which helps young people develop knowledge and skills to become productive citizens. It also helps youth meet the diversities and challenges of today's society. Youth and adults work together to design programs that will teach skills for living. 4-H reaches people in their own neighborhoods with programs and activities suited to their needs, and helps build a stronger bond between family members.

The 4-H program is a voluntary, non-formal, educational program offered to all boys and girls regardless of race, color, national origin, place of residence, or disability. The Illinois 4-H program is conducted by University of Illinois Extension. McLean County 4-H programs are directed by professional Extension staff, and a great group of trained, dedicated volunteers work with 4-H members.

4-Hers learn about citizenship, leadership, cooking, arts and crafts, mechanics and technology, horticulture, agriculture, and many other subjects through hands-on instruction with lots of encouragement. Each member selects 4-H projects according to individual interests and abilities. 4-H projects offer a practical, but challenging, planned course of activity on a specific subject. Participants learn to set goals and evaluate progress, and the skills and knowledge gained in the process prepare them for future education and work opportunities.

Each summer, 4-Hers bring their projects to the McLean County 4-H Fair for evaluation. Evaluation helps members assess their knowledge, skills, and attitudes in order to build on strengths and overcome weaknesses. The fair showcases their many skills and abilities, and ratings and ribbons on projects demonstrate the standards met for project exhibit requirements. Entries in many categories have the option to exhibit at the State Fair.

The first local 4-H fair was held in 1923 at the Ed Coolidge farm three miles west of Bloomington, near the present location of the MMMA plant. Thirty boys and girls exhibited livestock, a few vegetables and sewing projects to about 150 people. Six moves and 84 years later, the McLean County 4-H Show is now held at the McLean County Fair Grounds, located at the Interstate Center, 2301 West Market, Bloomington, IL, a few miles from its original site! The McLean County 4-H program now reaches over 1,100 youth. More than 500 adult volunteers help lead more than 50 clubs across the county.

So while you and your family enjoy the many activities at this year's 4-H Fair, you are all helping us carry on this great McLean County tradition.