When you think about 4-H projects at the Ohio State Fair, you probably think about livestock and the sale of Champions. But as Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, there are hundreds of 4H projects at the fair that don’t bring the big attention and the big bucks.
The Lausche Building at the Ohio State Fair resembles a furniture factory as young people are sawing and nailing wood together, showing judges their carpentry skills.
Fade up sounds of hammers and saws
Handmade wood tables, chests, and beds are on display….and the students who’ve made them stand near their project like proud parents. Dalton Spiker of Muskingum County made a jewelry armoire.
Spiker: "It’s where you can put all your jewelry and stuff. Like the doors open and you can put your necklaces and the drawers open and you can put your rings and stuff in."
Spiker says it took many hours for him to make the armoire but he says he's learned a lot from the process. And he says those skills are coming in handy around the house."
Spiker: "Something broke on a cabinet of Mom’s and dad wasn't home so I went ahead and fixed it when he wasn’t home so he didn’t have to fix it when he got home from work."
Learning new skills is the goal of these 4 H projects. Allen Auck is the program manager for Ohio 4H development. He says woodworking is just one of many projects represented at the fair.
Auck: "Some of the other things we have is like our food and nutrition event. Everybody gets to test their nutrition skills and their knowledge. We have a communications day where kids do demonstration day where kids do demonstrations on something they’ve learned how to do and want to tell others do that demonstration. We have a 4H fashion revue where make clothing and we have two style shows during the day for three days with some atypical type projects. And then a lot of our interest is in the natural resources area. We probably have 650 kids that are in those areas, learning how to conserve our natural resources and learning about the environment and those kinds of things."
Auck could go on and on with a long list of projects at the fair that you don’t normally hear about in the news. He admits most of the attention goes to the livestock contests at the fair but he says these other 4H projects are just as interesting…even if they aren’t as lucrative.
Auck: "The top class winner will get a clock trophy winner. Sometimes that’s just as much as getting thousands of dollars for selling your steer at the sale of champions but monetarily – wise, they don’t get that money here."
The 4Hers who are involved in hundreds of these projects hope to steer fair-goers in to watch all of the non-livestock competitions as well.