No matter how much effort goes into planning of the La Plata County Fair, it always is upon us way too fast.
All this week, the Extension Office staff will be taking in 4-H livestock record books and signing up 4-H'ers for interviews on these books, as well as for the demonstration, creative cooks and cake decorating contests.
La Plata is the only county in Colorado that judges and interviews the record books of every 4-H'er with a livestock project. This year, there will be a total of 237 record book interviews, which will be conducted by 29 volunteer judges - hopefully the final few will be secured by the time this goes to press.
Once the books are in, the judges pick them up from our office and have from a week to 10 days to do the preliminary judging, with the final 10 points coming from the interview portion of the scoring. In many cases, a volunteer is recruited to judge a certain project in a certain age group, but in other cases, where there are more than 13 members in an age group in one species, two judges halve the books, interview half of the members and then work together to come up with their final placings. In all cases, the volunteers have had 4-H experience either as a member or as a parent or leader and have a good knowledge of the species they're judging.
4-H horse and dog record book interviews will take place Aug. 3, while the remainder of the interviews will take place Aug. 5, before or after the 4-H Sheep Show that starts at 6 p.m. that day.
4-H livestock record books are not the only 4-H projects that go through the interview process. On Aug. 4, all 4-H general, natural resources and home-economic projects will be judged following a similar format - 4-H projects are brought in and entered in the fair beginning at 8 a.m. The 4-H'ers then sign up for an interview time, at which time a judge will judge their project and their record book and conduct an interview. Each judge is allowed 15 minutes to go through this process with each member. A total of 23 judges (different from the ones who will be judging livestock record books), in addition to 23 volunteer clerks, are recruited to complete this task.
It's not too late to get started on lining out those projects that you might want to enter in the open-class division of the fair - be it baking or decorated cakes, food preservation, crops or garden produce, homemade beer or wine, sewing, quilts, knitting or crocheting, handicrafts, art, photography, flowers or livestock. In each category, there also is a children's division.
So, pick up a La Plata County Fair Book - "It's Showtime in 2009" - from the Extension Office or download a .pdf version at www.co.lapla ta.co.us (click on Fairground Events, then 2009 County Fair), and enter your creations on Aug. 5 in the Exhibit Hall.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6460. Bob Salzer is La Plata County 4-H Youth Development Agent.