COLUMBIA — Dozens of cars line the driveway. Excitement dances through the air. Twitters of conversation intermingle with the sounds of walking feet, shifting projects and giggles between friends.
The Boone County Fair is finally here. Thursday night was the first of 11 successive nights of activity at the Boone County Fairgrounds. The fair formally kicks off on Monday.
Boone County 4-H members are filing in with their numerous projects. Small tables decorated with green and white cloverleafs are set up to display these projects in categories such as clothing, cake decorating and photography.
Kids and parents talk animatedly, leaving a feeling of comfortable camaraderie along with a hum of excitement. Lines snake through the large multi-purpose building containing arms heavy laden with homemade projects.
These are testaments of the time and care the 4-Hers put into their projects. All of their work comes down to a little cloth ribbon awarded at the Boone County Fairgrounds in July.
“It’s the culminating event for the kids’ projects,” said Stephanie Femrite, 4-H educator for Boone County. “It’s something they look forward to and work toward all year.”
The smell of food wafts from the projects and an eclectic buffet for the families and volunteers. Shouts of red and blue ribbons are laced with enthusiastic hugs and comments of “I’m proud of you.”
Moms congregate, making small talk while their kids have their projects judged. That’s what all the excitement is about. After weeks and maybe even months of work, the 4-H members in Boone County are getting their projects judged and awarded ribbons.
The room is a puzzle slowly being put together as projects are set out in the open space, where their ribbons flutter in the slight breeze.
Kelly Wilsdorf, who turns 14 on Saturday, is one such person. She had her 15 projects in tow and was making the rounds from judge to judge. Two of her projects are photography and showing rabbits.
“The last two weeks have been crazy trying to get projects and livestock ready,” Wilsdorf said. “I’m really excited. I’m always excited for the fair.”
But the fair isn’t just about the projects for these members.
Wilsdorf said she fits in at the fair and loves coming here with her country friends after going to school all year in the city.
Her sister, Amy Wilsdorf, 17, also loves the fair. Two of her projects are in leadership and photography.
“It’s my favorite part of my summer,” Amy Wilsdorf said. “I really look forward to it.”
This is the tenth fair Amy has participated in, and it’s Kelly’s sixth. So they know the drill. Fair activities and 4-H will keep them plenty busy this coming week.