Montgomery County 4-H Fair: The Skippack Blogger Gets a Taste of the Country

This goat was raised and groomed by a young woman in 4-H and will be on display at the Montgomery County 4-H Fair at the 4-H Center in Skippack Township.

This goat was raised and groomed by a young woman in 4-H and will be on display at the Montgomery County 4-H Fair at the 4-H Center in Skippack Township.

The Montgomery County 4-H Fair is held each year at the 4-H Center in Creamery, near Skippack Village. The 2013 Fair will be held Thursday, August 8 thru Saturday, August 10.

Thurs, August 8: 4 pm – 9:30 pm
Fri, August 9: 9:30 am  - 9:30 pm
Sat, August 10: 9:30 am  - 4 pm

The 4-H Center is located at 1015 Bridge Road/Route 113, one mile south of the intersection of Skippack Pike/Route 73 and Bridge Road in Skippack. For info, call 610-489-4315. More information.

As a refugee from typical suburban hoods, Skippack offers me a taste of city sophistication in a small-town package. But when I am feeling world-weary and work-worn, which is not uncommon these days, Skippack offers me something more important: The wisdom of farmland.

I pause from my daily grind, turn away from the ubiquitous computer screen and look out the window, unsettled, dissatisfied, the son of a restless, unhappy civilization. What is it I am seeking?

Go ask the farmer. Ask the beasts of the field. Ask the very soil.

I get in my car. Without venturing far, I see rolling hills, cultivated fields, sheep, cattle, silos reaching up to the sky, signs advertising fresh produce and eggs. I am a child of the suburbs but my soul cries out, “take me home, country roads.”

Even a slight breeze brings the wisdom of country air into Skippack. It is an important part of what makes this town so very special.

Nowhere is the joy of our proximity to farmland better celebrated that at the Montgomery County 4-H Fair held each year during the second week in August at the 4-H Center in Skippack Township, a short few minutes drive from village restaurants and shops.

Get Me to the Fair on Time

For kids who are active in Montgomery County 4-H, this fair is the culmination of the 4-H project year. It is their chance to show families, friends, and we-the-people what they have achieved as 4-H members. Many young people have animals on display and proudly show them and answer questions. Members of other 4-H clubs have a variety of projects on display and are on hand to talk about their activities and interests.

In addition to the 4-H projects, there is much for visitors to the 4-H Fair to enjoy. The fair schedule is jammed with activities, for example, quilting demonstrations, egg judging, crowning of fair king and queen, pony gaming, square dance demo, poultry showmanship, herpetology (snakes, frogs, toads, newts), pygmy goats, seeing eye puppies, alpaca club obstacle course, model rocket launch, parade of horse breeds, musical entertainment, refreshments, a celebrity goat milking contest and more. Check out the 2013 Fair Schedule.

The Skippack Blogger was invited to be a celebrity goat milker but had to decline because of other celebrity obligations.

Kate and Molly Teach Me More About 4-H and Life

Kate and Molly, college students who are serving as interns at the 4-H Center in Creamery, near Skippack Village, explain the value and lessons of 4-H.

Kate Littlefield and Molly Grzywacz, college students who are serving as interns at the 4-H Center in Creamery, near Skippack Village, explain the value and meaning of 4-H.

Kate Littlefield and Molly Grzywacz, college students and summer interns at the 4-H Center in Creamery who participated in 4-H programs when growing up, took a few moments to tell me about 4-H.

“4-H began as a way to add a social aspect to the daily life of farm kids, whose day was mostly work; it started out as cows and ploughs,” explains Kate. “We’re not just that anymore. We have fashion, rocketry, air rifle, all different kinds of sports, and leadership development.”

As the organization grows, more and more kids from urban backgrounds are participating in 4-H activities.  Speaking of city kids who participate in 4-H, Kate says “They’re a great group of kids and they’re willing to try anything, except for poop. The poop freaks them out. Other than that they mix in great with everybody else.”

Adds Molly, “I actually brought my goat in to show them. They had never seen a goat before. It was eye-opening. It’s not so scary. They’re like, ‘oh, wow.’ “

Kate shares with me her thoughts about what kids gain from working with animals; caring for them, grooming them, feeding them and, yes, cleaning the poop. “When working with animals, there’s not even a common language, there’s nothing. You have to have so much patience, so much willingness — but the animal will give as much as you give. It becomes a big relationship that remains unspoken. A lot of kids learn not only responsibility by taking care of an animal but other attributes: Patience, kindness, loyalty, dedication.”

Good lessons, indeed.

More 4-H Fair Photos and Videos

Members of the Silver Pails Goat Club (left to right):  Jackie Klein, Caroline Lynch, Anna Ferraro, Suzie Meidinger, Rachel Satterthwaite, and Sharon Gross, leader.

Members of the Silver Pails Goat Club (left to right): Jackie Klein, Caroline Lynch, Anna Ferraro, Suzie Meidinger, Rachel Satterthwaite, and Sharon Gross, leader.

A young girl tends to her 4-H project.

A young girl tends to her 4-H project.

Don't try this at home: Amber Manning of the Montgomery County 4-H Drill Team. This team of highly-skilled horseback riders will be giving demonstrations at the Montgomery County 4-H Fair held in Skippack Township.

Don’t try this at home: Amber Manning of the Montgomery County 4-H Drill Team. This team of highly skilled horseback riders will be giving demonstrations at the Montgomery County 4-H Fair held in Skippack Township.

Sun sets on the beautiful grounds of the Montgomery County 4-H Center in Skippack.

Sun sets on the beautiful grounds of the Montgomery County 4-H Center in Skippack Township.