4-H’ers prepare for the Iowa State Fair

It’s a busy time of year for anyone in 4-H, but it’s especially exciting for kids preparing to show their projects, artwork, animals or talents at the Iowa State Fair.

This will be Tielyr Clabaugh’s first time showing at the state fair.

“There’s a lot more competition. I think it will be a way to gain experience,” she said. “It’s definitely bigger, and there’s a lot more pigs.”

Clabaugh, 14, of the Badger Builders 4-H Club, is showing two swine at the fair. She also showed sheep at the county fair, but pigs are her favorite.

“They’re easier, they’re more friendly, and I think they’re more fun,” she said.

“The lambs just want to be fed. The pigs want attention,” said her father, Jeremy Larson.

One of Clabaugh’s pigs likes to eat marshmallows out of her hand, she said. Though a pig is more of a pet than a lamb, her pigs don’t really have names.

“I switch around on the names,” she said, speaking of one of her swine. “Sometimes we just call her Big Girl.”

Clabaugh enjoys the rides at the fair, but she especially loves the food.

” I like the bacon-wrapped corn dogs. Not the pork chops,” she said.

Caryn Dawson, 15, of the CC Sidekicks, also loves the food.

“The food is great. I think every year we would go and get a Wonder Bar; that was our tradition. And in the agricultural building, we would get some honey lemonade,” said Dawson.

This is Dawson’s second time taking a home improvement project to the fair. She refurbished an old cabinet. It now has a shiny wood finish, but it started out covered in black paint, she said.

“The sanding was the hardest part,” she said.

Dawson picked the large piece to challenge herself.

“At times I didn’t want to finish it, because it was really hard. I’m really glad my mom and grandma kept pushing me to finish it, because I’m really proud of myself,” she said. “And it’s mine, so I’ll get to keep it in my room now.

“I think the state fair is my favorite part of the summer because you walk around and people watch, and also look at the exhibits.”

Aubrey Walsh said she entered 25 art exhibits in the county fair. One, a watercolor painting of her friend, will be at the state fair.

“She lives in Michigan,” said Walsh, 16, of the Badger Builders. “She’s getting really excited because she’s going to the state fair.”

A few select Webster County 4-H’ers will get to help out at the fair on the State Council. They volunteer in the 4-H building, with the livestock or wherever they’re needed.

Rebecca Nellis, 17, of the County Charmers, was selected to serve on the council last year, so she will get to help at this fair also.

“I love state council, and being around them working is a lot of fun,” Nellis said. “You also get to help out younger members, which is really awesome, and encourage them to stick with it. And calm some of the younger members down when they’re getting nervous for their presentations.”

The council is made up from kids all across the state, she said, and meets six times a year. The members serve as ambassadors to help promote 4-H in both their county and one other one. Nellis is an ambassador to Kossuth County.

She will take projects to the fair, including extemporaneous speech, photography, environment and sustainability.

She will have a storytelling entry for the Share the Fun competition and an educational presentation on nutrient supplements for malnourished children.

“I hope to go to Iowa State for a food sciences major and study nutrient supplements,” she said. “Hopefully make a career of it.”