CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — This summer is different in many ways. The Cape May County 4-H Fair scheduled for July 16-18 was canceled in accordance with Rutgers Cooperative Extension directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All in-person events, classes, programs, club meetings, camps and other group activities organized by or under the auspices of the extension continue to be suspended at least through Aug. 31.
While the Cape May County 4-H Fair is not happening as we know it, 4-H faculty, staff and key volunteers worked together to create a New Jersey 4-H Virtual Fair for youth to showcase what they have learned and have their exhibits evaluated.
Linda Horner, Cape May County 4-H program coordinator, said, “We all miss the sights, sounds and experiences of the 4-H Fair this time of year. However, New Jersey 4-H is providing 4-H’ers from Cape May County and across the state the opportunity to demonstrate their learning this summer at the statewide NJ 4-H Virtual Fair.”
The purpose of the 4-H Virtual Fair is similar to the purpose of a county fair — it is all about learning and fun. The 4-H Virtual Fair is designed to provide opportunities for 4-Hers to share and demonstrate what they have learned, measure an individual youth’s progress and skills learned against project goals and standards, present feedback to youth from a caring adult, provide recognition of 4-Her’s accomplishments and showcase 4-H youth work to the public.
4-H'ers can enter a wide variety of projects. Just like at the regular county fair, 4-H’ers can enter art projects, cooking, photography, try their hand at a STEM Challenge or showcase a community service project. All entries are due by July 31 and results will be shared on the 4-H Virtual Fair website’s results page in mid-August.
There are also some just for fun classes like the 4-H Attire class and the Recycled Scarecrow class. Have a pet? Consider entering the Pet Costume Contest or the Trick Dog class. If you are in an animal project, you can demonstrate your showmanship skills or highlight your animal knowledge. The virtual fair has opportunities for everyone to get involved. Exhibitors will be awarded virtual ribbons and will receive feedback from judges. Additionally, a special commemorative ribbon will be sent to all participants at the conclusion of the Fair.
The process for entering exhibits in the Virtual Fair is different than entering in the Cape May County 4-H Fair. Entries, in the form of photos or videos, need to be uploaded. The good news is that detailed information and instructions are available on the 4-H Virtual Fair website, http://nj4h.rutgers.edu/virtual-fair. The site includes tutorials and step by step instruction to make the process as simple as possible. Some resources include a Fair Entry Tutorial video and directions, photo and video tip sheets plus handy tips and guidelines for each division.
Horner said, “The Cape May County 4-H Fair has traditionally played an important part in the lives of our 4-H’ers. The cancellation of the fair has created a sense of loss for all, especially our seniors and 13-year 4-H’ers. This opportunity that the State 4-H is providing for 4-H youth to share what they have learned is significant, and I hope our 4-H’ers seize the opportunity and participate in the virtual fair.”
In addition to the state virtual fair, Cape May County 4-H is hosting its own series of fun summer contests including scavenger hunts, a T-shirt design contest, creative record book judging and 4-H themed Tik Tok videos.
For up-to-date information on the Cape May County 4-H Youth Development Program, see capemay.njaes.rutgers.edu, Facebook at Cape May 4-H, or on Instagram at cape_may_4h.