After listening to complaints and concerns from parents and other 4-H members about the 159th Auglaize County Fair for much of Thursday’s meeting, the tone of the Junior Fair post-fair evaluation meeting changed at the end.
Parents praised Junior Fair Board members for the work they do in making the Junior Fair events and the entire fair a success.
“I know (senior) fair board members from all the neighboring counties — Allen, Hardin, Mercer, Shelby — and they are all amazed at the amount of work you do,” Jack McBride said. “In other counties, the senior fair board or club supervisors do most of the work, but here you are doing all this on your own.”
McBride agreed with others that Junior Fair Board members need to use the event as a learning experience and that should include raising funds for the events, but he and other parents felt the Auglaize County Agricultural Society, or senior Fair Board, should help with administrative costs.
Junior Fair Board Secretary Sara Wilker and Junior Fair Board Assistant Secretary Kayla Schneider said they understand the reason for parents and 4-H members coming forward with concerns regarding the cleanliness of the pens and aisleways and making sure the animals have feed and water for the rest of the week after the animal has been shown.
“It is important to realize they are just trying to help us improve and not criticize,” Wilker said. “They are just trying to make it run better and run smoother for us and those people showing their animals and projects.”
“I understand most of it because every year on Fair Board is a growing process,” Schneider said. “We need to be aware of things so we can make changes for the better.”
Schneider and Wilker said the Junior Fair Board members are thankful in being given the opportunity to organize and to be responsible for the events unlike other Junior Fair boards.
“By being responsible for the events, we have learned a lot about hard work and determination,” Schneider told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “We learn those qualities with our projects, but as a member of the Junior Fair Board we learn that through all the work that we did in just showing our animals — but there is more behind that fair than that.
“When we were little and we came to the fair you would see all the hog pens were set up and everything was ready for you and your animals,” Wilker said. “Being older and on the board, you can definitely appreciate all the work done by previous Junior Fair boards and it definitely shows how much work there is to be done prior to the fair, not just during the fair, by the Junior Fair Board.”
Junior Fair Board members are required to put in 72 hours of work throughout the year, but most, if not all, far surpass that number often eclipsing the 100-hour mark.
Schneider and Wilker said they and the other Junior Fair Board members also realize the benefits of being involved in the fair and being part of the group responsible for the events while still in school and working.
“I have learned balance, balancing all the work with the Junior Fair Board with everything else we have going on such as work, sports, school and going to college,” Wilker said. “You also learn the value of hard work, working with other people. There are people who may not be as cooperative but you learn to get along and make the best of it.”
Schneider said the work at the fair instills confidence through decision making.
“Sometimes decisions have to be made right away and we have to learn how to deal with things right away and just make the best of everything,” Schneider said.
The work during the week of the fair and throughout the year was not lost on the parents who applauded the Junior Fair Board members for their work after being recognized by The Ohio State University 4-H Extension Agent Beth Miller who passed out certificates.
“You need to be proud because you do more than others at other fairs around here,” McBride said.
“There is nobody who is going to dispute that,” Senior Fair Board President Ed Doenges said during the meeting, “we wouldn’t have the type of fair we have without the Junior Fair Board.”