A Day In The Life Of A 4-Her During The County Fair

My previous “a day in the life” posts were quite popular, so I think it’s time for another! Earlier, I wrote about days during the school year, but now I’d like to try something else. My summer days are very different from my school days – and a huge chunk of each summer is devoted to various 4-H events held at the county fair. (Psst, if you don’t know what 4-H is, look here.) So I’m going to write about one of my days at the fair!

And wow, there certainly are/were plenty to choose from. (The fair is still ongoing, hence “are.”) I mentioned my new summer job several weeks ago; well, it has since begun and so I am now at the fairgrounds more than ever before. I don’t know quite how it happened, but at some point I became one of the REALLY INVOLVED 4-Hers who exhibits a ton of projects, volunteers often, is on planning committees, and even has a 4-H-related job.

This post tells what I did on Saturday, July nineteenth. That day was particularly special and fun because the Junior Leaders held a race to raise money for their programs. (Junior Leaders is for 4-H members in the seventh through twelfth grades.) All our months of planning really paid off!

Enjoy! Oh, and times are approximate as always.

5:00 AM – UGH. I accidentally set my alarm to go off an early too early… I fix that and go back to sleep.

6:00 AM – My alarm blares once again.

6:15 AM – I get up, get dressed, et cetera. Yes, I really did just lie in bed for fifteen minutes. I hate mornings, OK?

6:45 AM – Breakfast! Blueberry muffins!

7:00 AM – Mom, Dad, and I get in the car and drive to the fairgrounds for the race. I read The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett, a book I began the night before.

7:20 AM – Having arrived at the fairgrounds, I begin to take pictures of the volunteers and random runners. I’m one of the race’s official photographers!

8:00 AM – I photograph the children’s quarter-mile run.

8:30 AM – I photograph the main race. In order to take as many pictures as possible, I drive around with another photographer on a golf cart. Or rather, she drives and I hold on for dear life, hoping we won’t flip over and wreck my camera.

9:15 AM – The race is now over, so I hang out with my parents, my friend’s sisters, and their mom. People get water and snacks to refuel.

10:00 AM – I walk over to another building to help set up for the 4-H foods auction. Each year, the top Foods & Nutrition exhibits are auctioned off to raise money for the scholarship fund. My exhibit won champion (best out of all the eleventh-grade entries) and I will apply for some of that money during this coming school year, so helping out is a no-brainer. We sort the food, package it, and take it over to another building.

11:30 AM – We’ve finished setting up but the auction won’t start for another half an hour, so I read more of The Color of Magic.

12:00 PM – Auction time! My Chinese sesame seed cookies sell for one hundred dollars, or roughly ten dollars per cookie. As you can see, the auction isn’t really about the food – it’s about helping 4-H. You can buy cheaper food literally everywhere else along the midway, but people like to support the organization.

1:00 PM – My shift at the 4-H office begins. My main task today (and every day) is to put ribbons into members’ envelopes according to scorecards that list what each exhibit won. It’s not at all physically strenuous, but it is mentally challenging because I must be very attentive to what I do – no one likes to discover that they have the wrong ribbons, or not as many as they should have!

1:30 PM – Lunchtime! I’ve eaten a lot of sandwiches lately. Today is no different.

1:45 PM – More ribbon work.

3:45 PM – I really need a break from ribbons, so I volunteer to help pick up stuff from the 4-H draft horse show held earlier that morning. The afternoon’s golf cart ride is thankfully much, much calmer than the morning’s ride.

4:00 PM – MORE RIBBONS.

4:45 PM – I walk over to the 4-H dog show, taking pictures for the official Facebook page. Today marks the end of the three-day event, and tonight is all about fun. An obstacle/agility course has been set up and it’s actually rather entertaining. I’ve never seen any of the show before – I’m definitely a cat person and can’t stand most dogs, so there was just no reason to go until now.

5:15 PM – You guessed it! More ribbons!

5:30 PM – Time for “fair dinner”! This consists of nacho taters (like regular nachos but with tater tots instead of tortilla chips), lemonade, and Oreo pie. It’s certainly not healthy, but I eat it literally only once a year, so what’s the harm? While I eat, I watch more of the dog show and talk to some friends.

6:30 PM – Back to work. I sort ribbons for a little while longer, then clean the office because it really needs it. I sweep, put notebooks in the proper places, and wipe fingerprints off the front window. By the last hour of my shift, many employees, 4-H staff, and members have wandered in and we talk about all sorts of things – but mostly the race.

9:00 PM – Normally I drive home, but tonight my parents pick me up. On the way home, we talk about my day.

9:20 PM – We’re back home, and we keep talking. Especially about the race. Knowing that the event was a success is a GREAT feeling!

9:45 PM – I quickly check email, Facebook, and blog comments/stats.

10:00 PM – I shower and get ready for bed.

10:15 PM – Normally I read a book before falling asleep, but tonight I’m too exhausted to read even a page. Lights out!

Well, that was my day. It was slightly busier than most of my fair days, but I chose to share it with you anyway because it was so much fun. It also differed slightly from the other days in that I worked a late shift – my one and only late shift, as it turns out. Normally I work from ten until six.

That was my shift today, actually. I meant to publish this post in the morning before I left for work but WordPress cruelly decided to swallow my post, thus not saving any of my writing. Ugh. Anyway.

Saturday was also the fourth out of ten consecutive days of work – I just finished my eighth. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, ha ha! But seriously, I like my job. I’ve earned plenty of money for college and have gained a sudden appreciation for just how much behind-the-scenes work is necessary for the 4-H fair to run smoothly.

What do you think of my day? Are you in 4-H? And do you visit your county’s fair?

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
This entry was posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to A Day In The Life Of A 4-Her During The County Fair

  1. Erin says:

    Wow. Your county 4-H sounds like so much fun. Our county sucks. The leaders are stupid and stubborn and don’t want to do anything. I love 4-H but…I just wish that I was part of a different, cooler county. *sad face*

    Anyway, our 4-H fair was this past weekend too! My cake went for $42.50 at the auction this year (one cake went for $175…it was insane), and I won Best of Show on my ink drawing, so it was a pretty successful fair! 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ours is fun, for the most part. xD There are… issues… sometimes. I’m actually joining a new club this year and REALLY REALLY looking forward to it. (But I’m staying in the same county-wide 4-H program, if that makes any sense.)

      Congrats! I think the Grand Champion foods entry sold for around $1100. O_o
      Hey, that’s neat. I didn’t realize other counties had auctions for foods. But it makes sense… otherwise all that food goes to waste!

  2. Cait says:

    That is a really. really long day. Heh, I feel like I’ve done nothing. XD But that’s awesome! (And definitely not good to be winning a ribbon or whatnot and then find it’s not there…heh, I’ve had that happen!) And hey, un-healthy food once in a while is like mandatory, right? My mum is insanely healthy about our food, but we dream about things like nachos aaaaall the time.
    (But sucks that wordpress swallowed your post. ARGH! Blogger has been beeing insanely mean to me at the moment too. -_-)

    • nevillegirl says:

      It WAS a really long day! xD

      Indeed.

      (Hey, at least it’s only happened once. I’ve lost posts before, but because /I/ didn’t save them, not because WordPress cast them into oblivion.)

  3. Erin says:

    Yeah, our club is kind of breaking up. Which is a little sad, because my family was the one who started up the club. Oh well. I only have one more year in 4-H anyway.

    Oh my goodness! How does your food go for so much money?!?! We only auction off cakes here (which irritates me…why can’t we auction off cupcakes too? or cookies? or any food for that matter?) and the highest I’ve seen a cake go was for $175. Sounds like my county just really sucks. 😛

    • Erin says:

      (This was supposed to be a reply to your comment above. Oops)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Same here. (That it’s my last year, that is, not that my family started the club.)

      I don’t know. We do get a lot of business owners to buy stuff at the auction, though, so maybe that helps? Because they want to promote their small businesses. And we auction EVERYTHING.

      • Erin says:

        That makes sense. We just have random people show up at our cake auctions, so I don’t think people really want to spend a ton of money on cakes.

        I think I need to take over our county’s 4-H program because if I ran it, it would be awesome. (I’m so humble)

    • nevillegirl says:

      True. And some REALLY REALLY SUPER NICE people donate the food (or animals – does your county auction the winning cattle and pigs and stuff too?) to food pantries. Like whoa. That’s a lot of money and food to give away, good for them.

      • Erin says:

        Yes, some of the animals are auctioned off (forgot about them since I don’t show animals). That is so cool. I wish my county did that!

  4. Mal says:

    Wow, what an incredible full day you had! Do you include Cake and Cookie Sale? Meat loaves? ….but I guess not, with so many animals around! 😀

  5. Pingback: Jobs, 4-H, & Much, Much More | I Have Been Busy! | Musings From Neville's Navel

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