Submitted by Rhys Hansen
This year’s fair required extra determination from 4-H participants, and they stepped up to the plate! With the need for COVID-19 safe judging, all submissions and judging took place online. Youth completed their projects and then photographed their baking or craft, filmed their animal showmanship routines and recorded their presentations to be uploaded online. Forty-eight youth from Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Island produced three hundred and seventy-nine projects to be judged at this year’s Virtual Showcase.
While the judges were hard at work evaluating submissions, special events offered opportunities for youth to celebrate their success and have fun, with a mix of adult and youth-produced programming. Friday night, a youth-hosted event featured a game of 4-H themed Kahoot, piano performances, jokes, and dog tricks. Particularly rewarding for the participating 4-H youth were the Virtual Auctions, in which they sold their qualifying crafts and animals to an eager collection of buyers. Running Thursday through Saturday, the Crafts Auction included baked goods, jellies, original art, poetry and knitted goods. With more than thirty entries, this year was one of the most successful to date! The much-anticipated Livestock Auction started Friday night, and included eggs, hogs, chicken trios, lamb, beef, and goat. Bidding remained active right down to the wire, with more than eighty bidders vying for purchase. The virtual format allowed bidders to participate from Washington State to California.
The complete list of award winners can be found on the WSU San Juan County Website. Highlights from the virtual fair include: Overall High Point Winner Moose K. from Orcas Fur and Feathers Club. Danielle Arnott from Lopez Island Club was recognized for the most virtual entries, with fifty-eight projects submitted. Martha Lum received the Harald Kjargaard Memorial Award, honoring “the most outstanding 4-H member”, and Anwyn Thompson was awarded this year’s San Juan County 4-H Leaders Council Leadership Award for exemplifying the 4-H motto “to make the best better”. In addition, 4-H members recognized the 2019 San Juan County Fair 4-H High Point winner, Betty Burt. While projects were submitted from around the county, Lopez Island Club had the most participation, contributing 137 entries to the virtual fair.
The public are invited to take a virtual “walk through the 4-H barns” and see youth projects on display on the WSU San Juan County Extension website. One can see everything from delicious baked goods, photography and crafts, to chickens, lamb and more! Beyond just photos, this virtual barn walk includes videos of showmanship presentations and the ribbons awarded to each participant. Visit https://extension.wsu.edu/sanjuan/4h-2020-virtual-showcase-san-juan-county-fair/ to enjoy the projects on display.