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For the Andersons, 4-H is a way of life

By Staff | Jul 13, 2016

The Anderson family stands together in the backyard of their home south of Fort Dodge Sunday afternoon. Pictured from left to right: Scott; Ally, 13; Lonne; Karen; Joel, 17; and Avery, 15. The family has been involved with 4-H and the Webster County Fair for many years.

For the Anderson family, the Webster County Fair is all about experiences.

Scott Anderson, of Fort Dodge, and a member of the Webster County Fair Board, said when he was a kid in 4-H, he enjoyed meeting the people.

“When I was in (4-H), it was about meeting new friends from other counties and helping the community for something they needed help with,” he said. “It also helps teach responsibility.”

At that time, he and his friends had to stay all weekend to take care of the livestock, he said.

He looked forward to being around friends in between shows.

Ally Anderson, 13, lays out some samples of her work in photography at the Anderson home Sunday afternoon. She is entering her work in the photography category at the Webster County Fair.

“I enjoyed all the times in the hog buildings having fun in between shows, flipping quarters with friends,” he said, “just doing our kid things.”

Anderson’s parents, Lonne and Karen, were also both involved in 4-H when they were kids.

“Our family has basically been involved with 4-H for about 60 years,” Lonne Anderson said.

Lonne Anderson, whose dad was also on the fair board, said being involved with the fair helped him develop relationships.

“You get to be friends with kids from other school systems and other counties,” he said. “You have more of an inclination for getting along with people, and I think the kids get a better work ethic out of it.”

Avery Anderson, 15, holds out her fairy garden at the Anderson home south of Fort Dodge Sunday afternoon. She is entering her project into the horticulture category at the Webster County Fair.

Karen Anderson said she remembers when the fair used to be located where Iowa Central Community College is now.

“That’s where it was when I was a kid,” she said. “A lot of the buildings got moved from Iowa Central to where it’s at now,” she said. “And we helped out at that point in time.”

Scott Anderson has three children: Joel, Avery and Ally. Each are members of the Dayton Tigers 4-H group. Scott Anderson also runs the Figure 8 races for the Webster County Fair Board. The races are at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the Grandstand. Everyone from the family volunteers their time to help with the races, either setting up or tearing down.

“The only ones that get paid are the grounds people,” Karen Anderson said. “Other than that it’s all volunteer. Everybody goes out there because they care about the 4-H kids.”

Scott Anderson’s son, Joel Anderson, 17, is a member of the County Council for 4-H. He recalled his first fair experience when he was 8 years old.

Joel Anderson, 17, admires his wooden crate turned herb garden at the Anderson home Sunday afternoon. He said the 13 colony flag pattern was inspired by his mother, Amy Anderson, of Stratford. The project will be on display in the home improvement category at the Webster County Fair.

“My first year I rebuilt a small engine,” he said. “I got honorable mention and state fair consideration, but I was actually too young to go down to the state fair. From there I just kept trying different projects and met new friends that way.”

Karen Anderson said Joel Anderson has donated several of his projects to the fairgrounds.

Joel Anderson said he made and donated a wooden backdrop used for weddings as well as a new magnetic bulletin board.

“That’s what this (4-H) teaches,” Karen Anderson said. “Pay it forward. Give back.”

Ally Anderson, 13, remembers receiving blue ribbons for her baking projects when she was 9 years old.

“That was one of the best experiences I have ever had,” she said.

She started out with baking, food and nutrition and photography. In recent years, she has gotten involved with home improvement projects, she said.

Avery Anderson, 15, is proud of her work in food and nutrition.

“Two years ago, I made pretzels for food and nutrition,” she said.

Those pretzels earned her a blue ribbon and a trip to the Iowa State Fair.

Scott Anderson said the Webster County Fair has a few new wrinkles this year.

“We brought the rodeo this year,” he said. “That we have never had for the fair.”

He also said there will be a free night of go-karts, tonight at 7 p.m.

Karen Anderson said they have added more open shows such as photography in an effort to bring more people out.

“When I was on the board four years ago, the fair wasn’t very well attended,” she said. “So we are trying to come up with new ideas to bring more of the public out.”

She said an open quilt show is new this year was on display all day Thursday.

“We have got it built back up to where there’s a lot more people now,” she said.

Joel Anderson is looking forward to Human Foosball, an event he said is taking the place of tug-of-war.

Lonne Anderson said from everything he has heard, the Webster County Fair has a nice variety of events.

“The vendors have said what they like about the Webster County Fair is that they have a lot of stuff going on for the kids,” he said. “It isn’t just entertainment for adults. They have things going on for adults and kids.”

Karen Anderson added that a lot of those activities are free.

Ally Anderson, a student at Southeast Valley Schools, said the fair has helped her make new friends.

“I have met many new friends,” she said. “When our schools joined together, I met some people from Gowrie that I had never met before.”

Joel Anderson said being involved in the fair has helped him grow.

“4-H is about breaking out of your shell and meeting new people,” he said. “It gets you interested in things you can actually make into a career.”

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