The Hamilton County 4-H Fair will return to Noblesville with plenty of food, animals and other activities for the public to enjoy.
This year’s fair is set for July 20-24 and will feature the 4-H Showcase that will showcase what 4-H members have learned over the past year, said Kathleen Bohde, Hamilton County 4-H youth development extension educator. Bohde said judging of various 4-H projects ranging from aerospace to veterinary science takes place in advance of opening day.
“4-H’ers are working on their projects and are excited to let the public see what they’ve been working on throughout the year,” Bohde said.
Bohde said although many people think of 4-H as being an agriculture program, it has grown and adapted over the years by incorporating robotics programs, photography and other areas. 4-H members had the opportunity to choose from 60 project options available to them, according to Bohde.
“It’s really neat to see how youths have dived deep and have something to show at the county fair that they’ve learned,” she said.
There are 1,400 4-H members in Hamilton County, a figure that is slightly lower prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 4-H is offered at all school corporations throughout Hamilton County, according to Bohde.
“It is a countywide program that brings youths together, and it is a great way to get that sense of community and the youths can be competitive, but cooperative together,” Bohde said.
Bohde said there were 1,600 4-H members in 2020. She projects 2024 will be a year in which 4-H grows exponentially in Hamilton County.
While many 4-H activities take place in the summer, Bohde said it is a year-round program and noted that the organization will accept applications from interested youths starting Oct. 1. Individuals who join 4-H can not only take away lifelong friendships, but also develop important life skills such as decision-making, time management and more, Bohde said.
But among the highlights of the county fair on an annual basis are the livestock competitions, which Bohde said gives 4-H’ers an opportunity to showcase their animals. Some 4-H members who plan to participate in the county fair’s beef show have been working with their steer or heifer for more than a year, according to Bohde.
Those individuals also spend a lot of time grooming, feeding and monitoring the nutrition of their animals as well, she added.
“We are learning about making sure that we have quality livestock that we know someday will come into the food supply,” Bohde said.
Bohde said many 4-H’ers are competitive and have enjoyed success at the Indiana State Fair and at national shows.
“(They are) highly competitive, but at the end of the day, when they come out of the show arena, they are good sportsmen and strive to be the best they can be,” Bohde said.
Other than livestock competitions, the Hamilton County 4-H Fair will also feature various activities for the public, including a county extension homemakers’ flower show, a 4-H agriculture tractor driving contest, live music, a pet parade and more. For more, visit extension.purdue.edu/county/hamilton/hamilton-county-fair/hamilton-county-4-h-fair.html.