One of Gloucester County’s summer staples is back for another year.
The 72nd Annual Gloucester County 4-H Fair is set for July 25 to 28 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 $10 parking donation for attendees. After the initial donation, patrons have unlimited access to the fair for all four days. The event draws roughly 20,000 visitors each year.
Each year the theme of the fair is chosen by the various clubs that are a part of Gloucester County 4-H, according to president Joe Marchei. He said the clubs, along with the board chose, this year’s theme, “All Around the World.”
Of the four-day event, Marchei said his favorite is anything with hogs. He’s slightly biased because his daughter is a member of the hog club. He added anything with livestock is a hit with the crowd, noting the livestock competitions are held on Thursday night before the auction on Friday.
As far as other crowd-pleasing events, he mentioned the barbecue dinners and the music guests who will be performing on stage. The club demonstrations are good too, in Marchei’s eyes, as well as the horse pull on Saturday night.
“Whatever you like, there’s a little bit of something for everybody,” he said.
The children are the real stars of the fair, it’s something they work hard on all year long. Marchei said each group has to do a project and keep something similar to a book report of what they learned throughout the year before presenting it to the board.
“They come before the board, give a speech and they’re asked what they get out of 4-H. A lot of them say public speaking,” Marchei said. “Each group has to give a presentation to the fair on any subject. They have to speak in front of their peers and it helps their self-esteem and helps them through life.”
He added the camaraderie of being in a county-wide program is also beneficial. Just because one member lives in Washington Township doesn’t mean they can’t have club members in Mullica Hill. There are a litany of different clubs for kids as well – it’s not just working with livestock. There are clubs ranging from technology to cooking and anything in between.
The schedule of events includes but is not limited to a parade of 4-H clubs, horse shows, dog shows, dairy shows, rabbit shows, sheep shows, hog shows, horticultural competition and a Jersey Fresh baking contest.
Marchei believes the four-day fair is a great way to support the local community.
“It’s in your backyard. It’s good for the kids, its a good time,” he said. “It brings back the old days, see how things were done in the farming community with livestock. You can’t see this stuff at the mall. It’s a good time with good food.”
For more information on how to get involved in 4-H, visit the gazebo by the entrance of the fair from July 25 to 29 or its website, www.4-H.org.
For full fair schedule, visit the Gloucester County 4-H Fairgrounds Facebook page.