4-H is a youth program for ages 5 to 18 years olds. It started more than 100 years ago in Ohio. 4-H is part of the United States Department of Agriculture, and coordinated through Land Grant Universities around the country. In North Dakota, 4-H is a joint program between the North Dakota State University Extension Service and the individual counties.
4-H started as a program to help teach farm boys how to be better farmers, and to teach the girls about taking care of the home. Over the years it has developed to include a wide range of program areas. You can probably find a project to cover almost any area of interest. 4-H has become known for teaching general life skills such as leadership and public speaking, as well as the specific topic areas ranging from baking to welding to rocketry. 5 to 8 year olds are Clover Buds and get to try several different programs as participants. 8 to 18 year olds pick out programs they are interested in learning about and get a chance to experience hands-on learning. There are also a lot of competition opportunities.
Exhibiting projects at the Fair is part of the 4-H experience. Youth make something as as part of the hands-on learning for the project, or make a display to explain what they learned. The projects are interview judged. This means that the youth bring their project to a judge, and the judge interviews the youth to find out what they learned in the project area this year. Each project is judged on its own and given a blue, red, or white ribbon. A large part of the ribbon is based on the effort and skills learned by the youth, rather than just judging which project looks best. Blue ribbon projects are then judged against each other in specific project areas, with the best given Grand Champion, Reserve Champion, or Honorable Mention ribbons. Blue ribbon projects can be sent to the North Dakota State Fair in Minot.
Static exhibits for 4-H youth are entered and judged on Tuesday of Fair week. They will be available for viewing in the 4-H Building when the Fair opens on Wednesday. The building opens when the Fair opens each day. It closes at 10 pm each day. Stop in and check out the work done by 4-H youth as you walk through the Fairgrounds. 4-H also has a stand selling pie and ice cream over the weekend, so it becomes a great place to take a break if you want to sit and relax between rides on the Midway.