News From Terre Haute, Indiana


June 28, 2012

4-H finishing touches

Vigo County Fair set to begin July 8

TERRE HAUTE — Volunteers continue to beef up efforts at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds in advance of this year’s Vigo County Fair.

Vehicles filled the parking lots an lined up along the property’s internal roads Tuesday evening as dozens worked to ready the grounds for the festivities scheduled July 8-14.

Presented by First Financial Bank, this year’s fair is expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors, organizers said.

Inside the beef and dairy barn, parents partnered with their children in raising gates and spreading straw across the ground. Purdue University Extension educator Julie Hart said participation is strong again for the annual event now in its 83rd year.

“We are a little bit over 1,000 4-H’ers again this year,” she said, noting she’s glad despite relatively high corn and fuel prices families are still showing animals. “When we can continue to fill the barn with animals that’s always a good sign”

Debbie Laswell, superintendent of the dairy class, said about 20 entrants will show in this year’s fair.

From her own farm near Blackhawk, Laswell offers a “lease program” where 4-H’ers without their own ground can use her dairy cows throughout the year, caring for and learning about them before the show.

“My grandparents milked cows and I lived with them in the summers. We’ve had Guernseys since I was born,” she said, adding proudly this will be her grandson’s first year participating in the fair, and her granddaughter’s sixth.

Likewise, Chris Bonar, superintendent of the beef class, described 4-H as a family affair.

“I was in 4-H for 10 years,” he said, adding his own kids will show a steer and heifer raised at their Riley farm this year. “I hope people come out to look at the animals. The kids put a lot of hard work into this, especially the way the weather’s been.”

And while animals are often associated with the fair, Purdue Extension educator Krista Farthing said there will be thousands of other exhibits this year, as always.

“It’s a great opportunity to see what the 4-H’ers have been working on the year round,” she said, adding her background as a 10-year 4-H member included work in sheep, environment and photography.

Other activities kicking off this week include today’s Queen Pageant at Terre Haute North Vigo High School beginning at 7 p.m. Next week, the fair’s fashion review will be hosted at 7 p.m. July 5 inside Oakley Auditorium at Ivy Tech Community College of the Wabash Valley.

Changes to this year’s program include the addition of the King Arthur Flour browning baking contest to the Home and Family Arts Open Class, as well as the switching of the fair parade from Thursday to Saturday at 3 p.m. July 14.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or

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