Peninsula State Fair grows but keeps family 4-H focus while "Clammin' It Up"

A little wet weather has never bothered the Peninsula State Fair goers. Now with new facilities and walkways this year’s visitors were hardly inconvenienced in the slightest. The pig races were even more fun with a little mud, “Is number 3 a good mudder?” asked a spectator before placing his bet. “No he’s too young to have babies!” replied the wrangler. On the way over to the 4-H Junior Market Livestock (JML) auction Saturday, 10-year-old Sonora Martin was warming up for the Cow Milking Contest and taking on all challengers. Covered seating this year kept bidders dry while 4-H members put their prize winning livestock on the auction block. Auctioneer Norm Blakeley, one of the original JML organizers assisted by Tim Veal took bids on Sydney Epperheimer’s turkey that she raised for charity. When the bids and ad-ons were in over $1,500 dollars was raised on the turkey. When the Soldotna Rotary Club made the winning bid on 10-year-old Temujin Horsey grand champion hog, he literally did hand springs across the muddy arena. Temujin came all the way from Wasilla to participate in the Peninsula’s 4-H program and Peninsula State Fair. “The Fair at Palmer has gotten so large and commercial I wanted Timujin to be a member of the Peninsula 4-H. This Fair has kept its focus on agriculture and 4-H,” said Temujin’s mother.

“While many fairs have moved to include a more commercial and carnival oriented environment, the Kenai Peninsula Fair in Ninilchik has held close to its more traditional beginnings as a venue for local 4-H youth and residents to exhibit examples of community sustainability, resilience and self determination,” Jason Floyd, 4-H agent told the Dispatch. “Many people often think 4-H simply involves, cows and cooking, but this positive youth development program has evolved to include much more. Last weekend the 2013 Kenai Peninsula Fair hosted 4-H youth exhibiting projects in fine art, crafts, photography, music, horticulture, shooting sports, global citizenship, communications, animal science, and cooking,” added Floyd. “In order to exhibit at the fair 4-H’rs are required to keep annual project records, identify six things learned while developing their project, and participate in interview judging. For those in the 4-H Junior Market Livestock Program, club members must also participate in a minimum of four educational livestock workshops, collectively make over 400 program business contacts, and participate in serving at the annual Buyer’s Club JML barbeque. The Kenai Peninsula District 4-H Program owes much its success to the many hours of service performed by 4-H parents and adult volunteers, and the hard work of its youth members. 4-H strongly encourages family involvement in club and project focused activities, and teaches youth how to be responsible, contributing and productive leaders in our community,” said Floyd.

Other special events at this year’s Fair included the Backwoods Girl competition won by Jocelyn Grant and the talent show won by Conway Seavey and runner up Raymond Gray. Conway is the singing son of two time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey of Sterling. “It was the best fair I NEVER saw,” said fair manager Lara McGinnis, “I was home sick for most of it, but did get in Saturday morning for a little bit to help out with the pig races,” said McGinnis. Plans for next year’s fair are already underway learn more at