4-H members show off hard work at Carbon fair
For 17-year-old Natalie Mosier, the Carbon County Fair isn’t just fun and games.
She has to look out for the well-being of the cattle that she’s brought to take part in the fair’s livestock show.
“This is probably the most stressful week of my year,” she said. “But we get through it.”
For members of the Carbon County 4-H Livestock Club and the Mahoning Valley 4-H Community Club, the fair is a showcase for the hard work that they put in throughout the year.
“It is an entire presentation of all the skills, time and practice they’ve put into raising their animals,” said Kayla Fusselman, 4-H educator for the Penn State Extension.
Raising an animal for the livestock show takes a tremendous amount of responsibility from the teenagers. Starting months before the competition, they are up early feeding their animals while their classmates are still sleeping.
They also have to purchase the feed, hay and supplies their animals need, and keep a budget.
Parents lend a big hand, whether it’s waking them up to feed the animals, or driving them back and forth to the fair during the week.
For parents the sacrifices are worth it to teach their kids skills which they hope will benefit them down the road. Many of them are farmers who took part in 4-H themselves as children, and now pass it along to their own kids.
“It’s gonna help them through life being strong mentally and physically,” said Dan Myers, whose daughters have been taking part in 4-H for 12 years.
This year, youngest daughter Morgan was crowned as the fair’s Junior Miss, meaning she will be doing double duty in addition to showing the two animals that she’s raised.
The fair combines hard work and celebration; 4-H members are at the fairgrounds more than they are at home. A lot of time goes into setup and takedown.
While the livestock club’s projects are the largest, there are plenty of other 4-H members at the Carbon County Fair. The Mahoning Valley 4-H Community Club shows rabbits, crafts and other projects.
Amid all the hard work, the members get to spend time with one another. They play cards and support each other when their shows take place.
“Being with my friends, meeting new people, that’s what I like about the fair,” Morgan Myers said.
The judging shows happen throughout the fair - goats one day, pigs another, cows on another.
At the end of the week, a livestock sale takes place. Local businesses pay to purchase the animals which are judged to be the best.
The members have to say goodbye to their animals, but they leave with valuable lessons about agriculture.
“My favorite part is having the community experience agriculture that is in their backyards,” Mosier said. “This is a great opportunity to show the community where their food actually comes from.”Fair Schedule