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August 1, 2013

4-H still going strong at Otsego County Fair

By Bera Dunau Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — 4-H is once again a significant part of the Otsego County Fair in Morris.

“It’s going to be a busy week for the kids,” said Kathy Galley, leader of the Garrattsville Gray Wolves 4-H Club.

4-H is a career and agriculture focused youth organization for boys and girls, administered in New York by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Otsego County has 25 different 4-H clubs with approximately 250 members. Of these members, 175 will be exhibiting at the Otsego County Fair this year.

4-H exhibits can be submitted under a number of different categories, including livestock, photography, vegetables and clothing. Exhibits are judged on their merits, and the best are selected to be exhibited at the New York State Fair.

All non-livestock 4-H exhibits at the Otsego County Fair can be found in the Martin Hall building, while the animals can be seen in the livestock barns or in the livestock ring.

“I enjoy the preparation of the projects,” said Martha Modinger, 13, of Otego.

Modinger, who is a member of the Otego Helping Hands 4-H club, had her flower tower, Cinderella Pumpkin, and creative writing piece selected for state fair. Her creative writing piece was a historical document from an imaginary place.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s a lot of fun,” said Scarlet Newman, 13, who shows dairy cattle, and won first place in the showmanship category and second in the junior category overall.

4-H members can also do a public presentation. These can involve either doing an illustrated talk on a topic, demonstrating how to do a project, making a speech, or reciting a work written by another person. Public presentations at the Otsego County Fair can be seen at Martin Hall.

Martin Hall also has displays put together by the 4-H clubs themselves, a number of which are interactive. 4-H is also giving away free sewing patterns there, and visitors can use sewing machines to sew donated fabric into animal blankets, which will be given to the animal shelter at fair’s end.

“These ideas just kind of fall into your lap,” said Teresa Adell, who runs Martin Hall, when asked how the sewing patterns give away came to be.

One of the major 4-H events at the fair this year will be the 4-H Livestock Auction. The auction will involve the animals of 4-H members who registered for the auction as a project earlier in the year. In order to be able to auction off their animals, the animals must have been shown at the fair, and judged worthy.

“There (the animals are) ready to go into the freezer now, at the time of the auction,” said Deb Dutcher, who had two children go through the 4-H program, and has been involved in 4-H since she was nine years old.

All profits from the auctioning of an animal  will go to the 4-H member selling it. A buyer can choose to donate their animal back, however, in which case it will be auctioned off again, with the profits from the second auction going to 4-H.

The auction will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, in the livestock ring. 23 animals will be auctioned off.

“This is our week to see all the friends that we don’t get to see all year long,” said Nadine Lasher, who has two teenagers in 4-H that show livestock. “This is like our second family.”

To learn more abour 4-H, and the 4-H events being held this year at the Otsego County Fair, visit