Because of our mild weather in Florida, nearly every season is fair season! County, regional, and state fairs occur throughout the fall, winter, and spring in our sunshine state. However, most county and regional fairs in the panhandle are in the fall. Fairs are an important component of the project experience. They provide opportunities for youth to demonstrate their project knowledge and skills. Livestock shows, judging contests, and exhibits are three ways youth are encouraged to develop communication and problem-solving skills associated with their project. To help our families prepare for the fair season, we have curated several resources:
Livestock Shows- if you are new to livestock shows, you may feel a little overwhelmed. This article has some very helpful tips on making sure you are prepared- whether you are showing a large animal (such as a steer) or a small animal (such as a rabbit). The article also includes a downloadable packing list, as well as a list of supplies you may want to have on hand for a “show box.” A show box is a container where you store all of your show supplies.
Judging Contests– Juding contests help youth develop critical thinking skills. Fairs typically offer a variety of judging contests- from agriculture, livestock, poultry, horticulture, and even consumer choices. If you want to learn the basics of judging contests, check out this article and video. If you are interested in agriculture or livestock judging, check out this article for a list of free, downloadable resources and local judigng opportunities.
Exhibits– Fairs are a great way to show off what you have done throughout the 4-H year. From individual project exhibits to club booth exhibits, there is something for everyone. Check out our family guide to fair exhibits to know which types of exhibits are right for you! If you plan to submit exhibits to the North Florida Fair in Tallahassee, be sure to read this article which is a step-by-step guide to prepare your exhibits for that blue ribbon premium!
4-H Days at the Fair– most fairs offer a special day just for 4-H families. On this day, entrance into the fair is usually free for 4-Hers and features several judging contests and events to support 4-H project work. 4-H Day at the North Florida Fair is November 12th. Check out this article with tips and information you need to know before you go to 4-H day.
For more information about fairs in your area, or to help youth in your county make the most of thier local fair, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.