County 4-H Fair boasts fun for all ages, interests

Event runs July 26 to 29 at fairgrounds

From live music, to pony rides, livestock auctions and petting zoos, there is something for everybody at the 71st Annual Gloucester County 4-H fair. The annual event will run from July 26 to 29 at the 4-H Fairgrounds, 275 Bridgeton Pike in Mullica Hill from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. There is a one-time ten-dollar parking donation for attendees. After the initial donation, patrons have unlimited access to the fair for all four days.

The event, which draws roughly 20,000 visitors from the tri-state area, has become a South Jersey mainstay. Despite the drastic geographical change from a rural farm area to a more suburban layout, the Gloucester County 4-H Fair is like a time machine that brings you back to an old-time, country fair.

Rachel Lyons, the chair of the department of 4-H Youth Development at Rutgers University, talked about why she believes the 4-H Fair is successful year in and year out.

“It’s a wholesome family event that showcases what our 4-H members learn over the past year. We consider it the highlight of the 4-H year,” she said. “It recognizes the young people in the program for their achievements and thanks the volunteers for their hard work.”

“People these days live busy, modern lives. Sometimes something as simple and almost nostalgic as a 4-H fair is a draw in itself,” Lyons added. “It’s family fun. You can have a great day with your family, come pet some animals and have some fun.”

Family fun is a priority for the 4-Hers. Lyons specified there are things for all ages and all interests — whether you’re interested in animals, healthy living, model airplanes, or even robotics.

A few things that Lyons specified as “musts” for fair visitors are the horse show, the other animals, and any food with peaches in it.

“I’ve been to all the fairs,” she said. “The best food there is the peach items, specifically the peach icee.”

There will be a Jersey Fresh Baking contest to boot.

One of the things that Lyons feels is worth checking out is the horse costume class for kids. In this event, the kids dress up horses and themselves in matching or coordinating costumes. She said the biggest draw is usually the animals.

“At the Gloucester County fair you can see a wide variety of animals, livestock, dogs and other small animals,” she said. “There are a lot of demonstrations and shows that showcase them.”

As the chair of the Department of 4-H Youth Development, Lyons’ role is to oversee all of the 4-H programs in all of the counties. She said kids can get involved easily, all kids from kindergarten to freshmen in college can get involved.

For more information on how to get involved in 4-H, visit the gazebo by the entrance of the fair from July 26 to 29 or its website, www.4-H.org.

For full fair schedule, visit the Gloucester County 4-H Fairgrounds Facebook page.