SIDNEY — The Shelby County Junior Fair is back in full swing this year, much to the joy of 4-H participants across the county.
“It’s a lot different. I’m doing rabbits — my first year (with rabbits) was last year, so I haven’t had the experience with having the animals there, since it was just a one-day thing. Animals, I say, is a lot different, and you can see everybody else now during judging, there’s no masks, and you get to shake your judge’s hand and be more formal with them,” Ashley Roush said.
Roush, daughter of Karen and Darrin Ike and Rodney Roush, graduated from Fairlawn High School this year and has participated in 4-H for the past decade. She’s participated in vegetable gardening for three years, but has expanded her projects to include showing rabbits as well as participating in scrapbooking. Her scrapbook project is the first she’s done, and she chose to chronicle her senior trip to Texas. Roush said that she didn’t think the project would be much more than gluing pictures on a page when she first started, and quickly learned more work went into scrapbooking.
“I learned that I need to be more creative. We went through it to see what type of designs would go with what paper, and when we were doing each page, we had to see what color scheme would go with it, because you have a themed background,” Roush said.
Another project Roush has worked on for this year’s junior fair with vegetable gardening is using uncommon resources to grow and maintain vegetable plants — namely, planting vegetables in water troughs and Tupperware containers. The idea behind the project was to show that there’s no limit to where and how someone can grow their own plants.
“I wanted to show, no matter if you live in the city or if you live in the country — anywhere you live, you can have vegetables and grow your own. It’s not just a garden you have in the ground. You can have it in tubs, in troughs — you can have it anywhere,” Roush said.
On the judging side of the spectrum, five-time junior fair judge Samantha Slover says that she keeps an eye out for creativity and individuality when judging scrapbooking projects. Getting to know the participants and professionalism are also big parts of it.
“Professionalism is another thing. When we’re thinking about who’s going to state fair, we want them to be able to answer questions and have their projects complete, be able to make that eye contact, stuff like that,” Slover said.
Slover, who teaches algebra II and geometry at Sidney High School, was first roped into judging scrapbooking projects for the fair by a friend. She continues to come back every other year because she loves working with the kids and seeing their progress as they continue to participate in 4-H.
“I encourage kids to grow. It’s fun, it’s enjoyable, to show your own true creativity,” Slover said. “Some of the older kids, you see (growth) more in them than the younger kids, you see some changes. They take what you say and use it.”
Pre-fair judging continues through Friday, July 23. The junior fair will kick off with the Breeding Rabbit & Cavy Show, followed by Rabbit Showmanship at Kent Feeds Arena II on Sunday, July 25 at 9 a.m.
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