MT. VERNON – Participating in 4-H is not just a fun activity for 16-year-old Alicia Kabat of Scheller.
The program has also helped her come out of her shell and be more comfortable in social situations. Kabat has been a 4-H member for about eight years and has gained much from the experience.
“I just really blossomed myself. I was a really shy kid,” Kabat said. “(In 4-H), you learn how to deal with animals in a respectful way and you learn how to deal with people in a respectful way. … It's all-around a neat experience.”
Kabat is one of about 120 area kids who will compete in the upcoming Jefferson County 4-H Fair, which kicks off with a general projects show from 8:30 to 11 a.m. July 19 at Times Square Mall. The fair runs through July 27 and includes a wide variety of judged competitions and activities.
The general projects show is where 4-H members build displays or make presentations in several categories, including food, sewing and textiles, natural resources, visual and performing arts, woodworking, fashion, and more.
“Most of it is hands-on, actually making something,” said Carla Chesnek, the Jefferson County 4-H program coordinator. “The 4-H Fair is a culmination of all they have learned throughout the year.”
The fair will also have many livestock and animal shows, as well as a bike show, crops show, tractor driving contest, and livestock auction.
Carla's daughter, Taryn Chesnek, 14, of Woodlawn, will have a number of general projects in the show. Her categories include visual arts, sewing and textiles, cooking, and veterinary science. For the food category, Taryn has made two kinds of jam that will be featured in the competition. She will also take part in the goat and dairy shows.
“We learn responsibility and leadership and I like being with animals and being with my friends,” Taryn Chesnek said of the fair.