The doors to the 4-H auditorium at the Webster County Fair won't officially open to the public until today, but Webster County 4-H'ers were busy Tuesday bringing their final projects to the fairgrounds to be reviewed by judges and hearing the final results of their hard work.
More than 270 exhibitors from Webster County's 15 4-H clubs will be showcasing their talents at the fair this week in family and consumer sciences, visual arts, photography, personal development, clothing, mechanical and engineering, ag and natural resources, horticulture, communications and livestock which will be on display through Sunday.
As 4-H members prepared for the fair, they were required to come up with a goal for each individual project to share with the judges, and share their personal experiences as they are interviewed by a judge.
-Messenger photo by Emilie Nelson-Jenson
Nathan Rethwisch, 10, of the Elkhorn Earlybirds 4-H Club, gets a smell of the biscuits he made for food and nutrition as judge Marilyn Middleton critiques his work. The biscuits were held for consideration of honorable mention.
Darien Walsh, a member of the Badger Builders 4-H Club, brought several projects to the fair this year including a number of handpainted items.
Among those projects was a dress she made and painted a map design on the fabric.
"I wore it for prom and again for a wedding," she said.
It took a lot of time and patience to make the dress, Walsh said.
"All of the maps are handpainted," she said. "It took me about 16 hours to paint, it was very tedious."
Walsh also challenged herself with a ceramics projects.
"I actually did that one with my arm in a cast," she said.
Walsh's work paid off as her dress was held for consideration to be exhibited at the Iowa State Fair.
"I'm just happy it was considered," she said.
For first time exhibitor Allyson Jaeschke, it had also been a successful day. She brought several photographs, a fleece blanket, bread, paintings and a lamp to show. Each of her photos were held to be considered for honorable mention.
Jaeschke said she learned a few new things along the way as she prepared her projects at home, and even as they were judged.
"With the blanket you want to make sure you have all of the ties exactly the same," she said.
Nathan Rethwisch, a first-year member of the Elkhorn Earlybirds brought a plate of fresh, flaky biscuits to be evaluated by food and nutrition judge Marilyn Middleton.
After sampling numerous pies, breads and cookies, Middleton was happy to see that Rethwisch brought something a little different to the table.
"These are the first biscuits of the day," she said.
Middleton looked the biscuits over for texture and consistency and sampled them for flavor.
"Very good," she said. "Perfect, they'd be wonderful with a little butter."
As a foods judge Middleton said he had a pretty good job for the day.
"It's the job they envy," she said. "Everyone says they'd love to be a food judge."
Nelson Cook, a member of the Johnson Jaguars also had a learning experience as his bread was judged. After explaining the process of preparation to judge Mary Schroeder, they wanted to see if letting bread dough rise overnight at room temperature met the food safety standards of Iowa State University Extension.
"You learn as you go," Cook said as judges looked for an answer.
Cook said he enjoys judging and learning what he can do to improve on his projects.
"I like hearing how other people think I have done" said Cook.