4-H, FFA give more than 12,000 reasons to get excited at the fair

HARRINGTON — The exhibits for the 4-H and FFA clubs might not have the most convenient location in the Centre at Delaware State Fair, which is located about as far away from the main entrance as one can get.

However, the amazing array of exhibits designed and made from students throughout the state makes it a very worthwhile trip — plus, it’s air-conditioned, which has been a great bonus at what has been a sweltering state fair so far this year.

Harrington’s Doug Crouse, the state’s 4-H program leader, doesn’t take his and the FFA’s exhibit location as a slight.

In fact, he said the added room and exhibit space that the Centre provides is more than welcome.

“We have 9,200 exhibits just in 4-H,” Mr. Crouse said. “I would say FFA should have close to 3,000, so the building totals over 12,000 exhibits.

Doug Crouse, the state’s 4-H program leader, helped oversee all of the 4-H exhibits that have been placed in the Centre at the state fair. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

“It used to be in a different building and our exhibits were less back then, but with more room we’ve been able to increase our offerings.”

He added that it takes 4-H and FFA volunteers four straight days from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. to put all of the exhibits in their places.

“There’s a lot of project areas in 4-H that kids can learn from and participate in and by doing so they’re able to showcase some of their work,” said Mr. Crouse. “Arts and crafts’ is one of the big categories, photography’s another and you’ll see posters on various topics in various project areas.

“Plus, we have the vegetables, we have the plants, we have the foods. You name it, and you can do it in 4-H.”

It was a busy Monday in the 4-H/FFA exhibit building.

Walker Mozingo, of Bridgeville, served as a volunteer host to all of the 4-H exhibits inside of the Centre on Monday. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

The 4-H students conducted demonstrations on stage, presenting them either by Power Point or on poster board, on specific topics to assess their communications and presentation skills.

Meanwhile, FFA members were in the Kent Building and observed different species of livestock and had to come back to the Centre to give oral reasons for their evaluations of the animals to the judges.

While always busy, the one constant throughout fair week at the Centre is the 4-H and FFA exhibits. The winning projects will remain on display from 9 a.m. each day until the fair’s conclusion on Saturday.

Brittanie Stephenson, a member of Woodbridge High School’s FFA program, was very proud of her school’s blue-ribbon winning landscaping exhibit – a Ferris wheel that rotates and displays various plants.

Woodbridge’s FFA program won a blue ribbon with its Ferris wheel landscaping display. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

“The displays this year are very cool,” she said. “They have to show something about July, so they did the Ferris wheel at the state fair.”

Ms. Stephenson came to Delaware from Virginia and said in just looking at the multitude of exhibits in the Centre that the difference is easy to spot.

“It’s a lot bigger than Virginia, that’s for sure,” she said. “It’s something else.”

Dave Hunt, a resident of Harrington, strolled through the F-H and FFA exhibits on Monday afternoon with his 5-year-old son Joshua.

It was all new to him, but he left impressed.

“I’ve never been in this building before but I think it’s neat with all of the stuff the students are able to do,” said Mr. Hunt, who’s originally from Baltimore. “I love coming to the state fair. I do it every year.”

Anyone planning on browsing through the immense display of exhibits needn’t worry, the 4-H Club has volunteers like Woodbridge Middle School seventh grader Walker Mozingo who are happy to show off the displays.

“The displays are all really cool,” he said. “I saw a carving of a motorcycle and I really liked that. My job is to ask people if they need help to find something and if they’re having trouble I show them where it is.

“I like the 4-H Club a lot. I really enjoy the (monthly) club meetings, but my favorite part is archery.”

Mr. Crouse is proud when he looks out and sees all of the collective talent that the students involved in the 4-H and FFA clubs have to share.

“I think it’s one of the more popular things to see (at the fair),” he said. “We probably have as many exhibits here in 4-H and they have in the rest of the fair.”

That’s saying something.

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