CHASE PIBAL, left, 13, of Lytton, who is a member of the Garfield Gleamers 4-H Club, teamed up with his friends to wash his market and commercial sheep for the show at the 2012 Calhoun County Exposition.
ROCKWELL CITY - For 4-Hers like Tiffany Poen, of Lake City, the Calhoun County Exposition marks a highlight of the summer.
"I like trying new projects," Poen said, "and I've got 10 exhibits this year." She's a member of the Jackson Pioneers 4-H Club and exhibited her homemade fudge, a pillowcase she sewed, a woodworking project, a necklace she created, a bucket bottle calf, a market heifer and more.
"I also like coming to the fair and seeing my friends," Poen said. Participation in the Expo remains strong, said Jill Mims, Iowa State University Extension youth coordinator for Calhoun County. "We have a lot of first-time exhibitors this year, and we weighed in more hogs, beef and sheep this year than we did last year.
"The number of 4-H members in Calhoun County is also up from 2011."
Sue Carlson, a former 4-H leader from Rockwell City, helped judge the 4-H Bucket of Flowers division and enjoyed seeing the exhibitors' creativity.
"Fair projects like this are a good learning experience for the kids," Carlson said, "and 4-H offers a valuable way to gain life-long skills."
Mitchell Clark, 12, from Lake City, a member of the Jackson Pioneers 4-H Club, entered his first homemade pie in the Calhoun County Exposition this year.
He used a crust recipe and a cherry pie filling recipe he found in Farm News. "Making pies is hard, so I baked seven of them to practice," said Clark, whose cherry pie earned high honors when judged.
It's all about family
The local fair board works hard to maintain popular events and bring in new attractions to keep attendance strong at the Expo, which ended Sunday. This year's fair included a rodeo and fireworks show, the 10th annual pizza-eating contest, sponsored by Pizza Ranch, the Eric Findley Memorial Figure 8 Race, an all-terrain vehicle pull, team roping, magic shows, "weird science" shows, a balloon artist and much more.
"The Calhoun County Expo is all about family, and it's fun to see how excited the kids get when they can be part of the fair," Mims said.