Camden Stangle, 11, spreads straw in a cow pin as he gets animal Friday on the first day of the Clark County Fair. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

4-Hers celebrate Clark County bicentennial in booths, barns

Clark County 4-H clubs are decorating for a birthday, and fairgoers are invited to celebrate, too.

Barns throughout the fairgrounds as well as 4-H booths in the Clark County Fair’s Youth Building will be decorated in recognition of Clark County’s 200th birthday, said Patty House, the 4-H youth development educator for Clark County’s Ohio State University Extension office.

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“It’s really their creativity at work,” said House, who is excited to see what the clubs have come up with. In the past, participants have incorporated items such as murals, lights and plants.

Both the barns and booths will be judged on Saturday, in part on how they incorporate the bicentennial theme. Results will be posted on Sunday in the Youth Building and on the fair and extension websites, House said.

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In addition to Clark County’s bicentennial, fairgoers may see references in the displays to yet another local birthday. This year marks the 150th birthday of A.B. Graham, who was born in 1868 and founded what later became 4-H in Clark County in 1902. Today there are 4-Hers around the world, including 6 million in the U.S., said House. Clark County has 1,400 4-H members in more than 70 clubs.

That rich history as the birthplace of 4-H encourages Clark County clubs to “go all out” to make their displays shine, House said.

A different display in the grassy area next to the Youth Building will also give fairgoers a peek into Clark County’s past. The Agriculture Through the Ages exhibit, presented by the Heritage Center of Clark County, will feature antique farm machinery from the 19th and 20th centuries, along with a working steam engine.

Dean Blair, Executive Director of the Clark County Fairgrounds, believes fairgoers will not only learn something from the display, but also come to appreciate the area’s history and heritage. The county’s bicentennial is an ideal year for the display.

“It’s just the perfect time with all of this to bring it all together,” Blair said.

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