At the fair: Clover Bud kids get a sample of the fair

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Dennis Johnson and Peggy Davis were pretty confident they had the best jobs around Monday.

The two were busy fulfilling their duties as Clover Bud judges at the Freeborn County Fair, talking to youngsters about their projects and having the honor of presenting them with their green ribbons.

&uot;Sometimes it’s a challenge to get them to say something,&uot; said Johnson, adding that overall, the kids are proud of their projects. &uot;They have a good knowledge they like to share.&uot;

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Clover Buds take part in a simple show-and-tell at the fair. They may exhibit items in any of the following areas: Exploring Nature, Exploring the Plant World, Exploring Your Home, and Exploring Pets. Bringing a project to the fair gives these youngest 4-H’ers an idea of how to confer with a judge as well as an air of self-confidence and the pride of taking something to the fair, said Imogene Opdahl, Clover Bud advisor.

The youngest Clover Buds, Beginner I, who are typically first-graders, may take one project. Beginner II Clover Buds, second-graders, may take two projects.

Opdahl said Clover Buds generally follow through and become full-fledged 4-H’ers. &uot;They’re really enthused at this age,&uot; she added.

Johnson has been judging Clover Buds for more than 10 years and is a firm believer in the benefits of the program. &uot;It’s a great way to get kids into the building, and a nice transition to the real 4-H program,&uot; he said.

Davis is in her fourth year of judging Clover Buds, and said she encourages those kids she talks to about taking a look at the other projects throughout the building to expand what they’ve done and give them ideas for the future.

The judges start by quizzing the kids on their projects, what it was like to do it and what was the most difficult thing about completing it. &uot;I like to ask them about their project from start to finish,&uot; Johnson said.

&uot;We learn that not everything always goes perfectly,&uot; Davis added.

The judges said there are as many different projects as there are kids. If the kids brought food, it’s likely the judges will taste the final result. Rockets are always popular, as are leaf collections, posters and pets.

Blair Nelson of the Myrtle 4-H Club brought her hamster, Honey, to the fair. She admits to being a little nervous about the judging.

&uot;The hardest part was telling what the feed is,&uot; she said, adding that was because her hamster eats so many different things.

Her hamster sleeps a lot during the day and is more active at night, so the judge wasn’t getting to see Honey at her best, she said.

But the experience was obviously good for Blair, because she’s already got plans for next year’s project.

&uot;I’m going to take my kitten,&uot; she said.

(Contact Geri McShane at or call 379-3436.)