GREENTOWN — Even though the Howard County 4-H Fairgrounds are flooded with hundreds of 4-Hers and more than 600 livestock animals, the hands-on learning club doesn't stop at the barn. 

There will be more than 2,000 projects total shown at the Howard County 4-H Fair, 610 E. Payton Street in Greentown, this week, spanning all kinds of subjects. This doesn't include the more than 150 Open Class projects on display as well, Josh Winrotte, Howard County Purdue Extension 4-H Youth Development educator said. 

"4-H is not just plows, cows and crops," he said. "With all our variety of projects, we truly have something for everyone." 

Winrotte, who is also the extension office director, said at $20 for a full year, 4-H is the most affordable club for hands-on learning. 

The Howard County 4-H presence is large. There are more than 600 4-Hers submitting more than 2,000 projects, approximately 600 of which are animals, he said. 

Animals include swine, dairy, beef, sheep, llamas, alpacas, goats, poultry of all kinds, rabbits, cats, horses, ponies, dogs and pocket pets, such as gerbils, small reptiles and birds.

This year a bearded dragon named Deb was shown at the fair by 12-year-old Ava Kantz. Kantz won grand champion. 

Many projects go on to represent Howard County at the Indiana State Fair. The hard work of the 4-Hers can't be understated, Winrotte said. 

"Our kids put in a ton of work," he said. "One is showing a dress and has put in 120 hours making that dress, another one has spent about 400 hours walking her pigs. She's walked them every day since January." 

4-Hers begin working on their projects in the fall, as early as September. Of them who don't have access to livestock are able to show others' animals because the 4-H community is like a family, Winrotte said. 

For instance, Winrotte and his family live near downtown Kokomo and can't have a cow on their property. A family friend is letting Winrotte's daughter show cattle this year.

This year 32 seniors will be graduating from 4-H. Many seniors earn accolades, including scholarships, which will be awarded on Friday night at 7 p.m. during the 4-H Awards Program and 10 year member recognition.

"My favorite part is watching the lightbulb moment," he said. "Let's say a kid is doing an electricity project and a switch goes out in his house. Now he knows why that happened, he figured it out and that's because of his effort in 4-H." 

As the kids put in the work on their projects, adults put in the work on the fair. Planning is a year-round process which ramps up in January, Jay Freeman, the Howard County Fair Committee concessionaire manger said. 

Freeman has been involved in the fair since the 1970s. Freeman's wife has been a 4-H group leader for more than 40 years. 

"The great thing about the fair is the 4-H kids," he said. "That's the whole thing, the whole reason we have this fair every year is because of those kids." 

But there's more going on at the fair than 4-H, food and carnival rides, he said. There's always something going on, whether it's live music, knockerball, ATV racing or the sheriff's department K-9 demonstration. 

"We keep things going," he said. "We often have multiple events at once, so people have to decide what they want to see. But we've got something that could interest anyone." 

Freeman is particularly excited for this evening's dedication of the pioneer village doctor's office at 6:30 p.m. The doctor's office is new to the fair and provided by the Community Howard Regional Health Hospital. 

"This is one of the things I'm really excited to see," he said. "Without Community Howard, we could never do this. We're so grateful for that." 

There's plenty to see at the fair, and the schedule varies daily. For a full schedule with more information, visit howardcofair.com

Today at the fair: 

****Below are the in Livestock Pavilion 

  • 9 a.m. Crop, Floriculture and Garden Judging
  • 9 a.m. Poultry judging
  • 9 a.m. 4-H Rabbit Ambassador Judging
  • 10 a.m. Senior Swine Showmanship
  • 1 p.m. 4-H Rabbit judging

**** Happening elsewhere at the Fair today

  • 3 to 10 p.m. 4-H projects building open 
  • 3 p.m. Midway opens 
  • 5:30 p.m. Howard County Junior Queen and Little Miss Howard County Princess Pageants, Grandstands 
  • 6 p.m. Goat judging, Show Arena
  • 6 p.m. Pioneer Village Doctor's Office Dedication, FFBT Pioneer Village
  • 6:30 p.m. KOI Drag Racing, Northwest Grandstand 
  • 7 p.m. Abundant Life Church praise band, Pioneer Village north stage 
  • 7 p.m. Medicinal Bluegrass, Pioneer Village 
  • 8 p.m. Miss Howard County Fair Queen Pageant, Grandstands  

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