Heat didn’t stop Wayne County 4-Hers and their parents from caring for their animals or checking out indoor exhibits as the fair opened Saturday, June 22. 

Members and parents hauled buckets of drinking water and donned hoses for cooling spray downs. Sometimes the animal grooming included applying conditioner to help them shine for the judges.

Even though her projects are goats, sand art and cooking, rising Hagerstown sixth grader Adelaide Miller watered cows to help her siblings and cousins. 

This is Adelaide’s sixth year in 4-H, and she’s learned to “treat animals right and make sure they get their nutrients.” 

“You have to give them good baths,” she said.   

Aubrey Pope, left, and Adelaide Miller take a quick break in the cattle barn. Photo by Millie Martin Emery

Adelaide was joined in the barn by her classmate and friend Aubrey Pope, who is showing cattle this year. 

“It’s fun and it’s challenging,” Aubrey said of six months of fair preparations. 

However, Aubrey said the work’s worth it because she gets to have fun and hang out with her friend.

Aubrey’s dad, Tyler Pope of Economy, spent nine years in Wayne County 4-H. He called membership “a great experience” for his daughter. 

“You learn a lot of different things,” Tyler said.

In a nearby barn, Kaci Harrell, a Madison County 4-H alumna, helped her son, Jayse Harrell, give his sheep a bath. 

Jayse Harrell gives his sheep a bath. Photo by Millie Martin Emery

It’s Jayse’s first year as a full 4-H member, and the Centerville student wanted to show sheep and cattle. Kaci and Jayse also participated in 4-H horse activities earlier that day, which is her area of expertise. 

Kaci said a good breeze countered the difficult heat, and that Jayse’s interest in animals and spending time with his friends helped him get through any discomfort.

Another mom was key to keeping pigs healthy while her husband and older sons were in Maryland showing cattle.   

“It’s our summer routine – all hands on deck,” said Kristen Ward of Greens Fork. She sprayed down the pigs several times Saturday. 

She and her cousin Adam Culy are Wayne County 4-H alumni, and they’re now both guiding their own kids in the organization. Adam has three kids in 4-H — Harli, Tristin and Taya. Kristen’s 4-year-old son, Kessler, helped with the pigs but isn’t yet eligible to join.       

While Saturday’s heat was uncomfortable for those in Wayne County, Weston, 11, and Barrett, 7, looked forward to cooler temperatures on their arrival. 

Kristen’s family had sent a screenshot of Saturday’s 111-degree temperature where they were competing. To help their cattle, they waited to drive through the night and arrive Sunday, just in time to take over their Wayne County fair responsibilities. 

Some fairgoers headed for cooler conditions to see students’ projects inside First Bank Kuhlman Center that ranged from cake decorating to photography. 

Alex Lerner’s sediment and reverse osmosis filtration system for processing maple syrup qualified for state fair. Photo by Millie Martin Emery

Alex Lerner showed his sediment and reverse osmosis filtration system for processing maple syrup. He said it makes boiling down the sap more efficient. 

The rising Dennis Middle School eighth grader is in his third year of 4-H and said he enjoys picking projects he wants to do based on his interests.

Lerner’s maple syrup project — and one computer-focused effort on programming his Lightsaber — are both heading to Indiana State Fair.  

If you go

  • What: Wayne County 4-H Fair 
  • When/where: Through Saturday, June 29, at 861 Salisbury Road N., Richmond.
  • Cost: Free parking until 4 p.m. weekdays and 1 p.m. Saturday. Otherwise, $5 per vehicle, $15 weekly pass, $2 per walk-in.Track events: $10/adult, $5 ages 6-12. 
  • Schedule: wayneco4hfair.com
  • Highlights:
    Thursday: Kids’ day 1-5 p.m. $15 armband ride special; Silly Safaris, 5:30 and 7 p.m.; dirt drag racing, 7 p.m.
    Friday: 4-H livestock auction, 11 a.m.; mud bog, 7 p.m.; Alex Miller; free stage, 7:30 p.m.; fireworks, dark.
    Saturday: Kicks 96 Idol finals, 5 p.m.; demolition derby, 7 p.m. 
  • Info: 765-973-9281; during fair week, 765-407-1946. 


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A version of this article appeared in the June 26 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.