The Kansas State Fair starts Friday with grandstand performances, acres of carnival rides and games, food vendors, outdoors displays ranging from farm equipment to hot tubs, indoor displays in an array of buildings and the conglomeration of 4-H entries from across the state.
Getting the 4-H entries to the fair takes coordination between 4-H’ers and Pratt County Extension agents Jody Drake and Mark Ploger.
The activity actually starts at the county fair where 4-H’ers have to earn at least a blue ribbon to qualify for a display at the fair, said Pratt County Extension Agent Mark Ploger.
Then the 4-H’er has to decide if they want to enter the State Fair. With the county fair late in July that decision has to be made quickly because the deadline for all entries in the State Fair is Aug. 15.
Entries for the fair are done online. The extension agents make sure 4-H’ers know the deadlines and help them get registrations in on time, Ploger said.
“It’s a quick and easy method to enter,” he said.
Extension agents take some of the county entries to the fair. During the week before the fair, most of the entries are brought to the Extension Office, entry cards are processed and placed with the items.
During the week the non-perishable items are brought in and processed. This year about 35 Pratt County 4-H’ers are expected to enter over 70 exhibits in the state fair, Ploger said.
Some larger displays, like big woodworking displays that won’t fit in the SUV, are the responsibility of the 4-H’er as are livestock entries.
Open class items are the responsibility of the exhibitor and have to meet their own entry deadlines.
Besides getting Pratt County 4-H’ers entered, Drake and Ploger have other duties. Drake helps with overall 4-H check-in and will help with the southwest area fashion review the second weekend of the fair.
Ploger works with the market wheat show. Both may take a turn at the Extension Booth in the Pride of Kansas building. County agents from across the state volunteer for every 4-H division at the fair.
The livestock judging goes on all week.Most of the 4-H animals are brought in the day before competition to allow them time to get acclimated and calmed down, Ploger said.
Animals usually stay at the fair at least a couple of days. The horse show is the second weekend of the fair.
A schedule of events and judging is available at kansasstatefair.com. Click on Daily Schedule to see when and where judging and other events take place.