EARLY CHILDHOOD — Tips for a Fun and Educational Day at the Fair

 Fairs are a great place to get ideas for projects  you might want to do!
Fairs are a great place to get ideas for projects you might want to do!

By Jaci Foged, Extension Educator, Lancaster County

County fair season is well underway. The Lancaster County Super Fair will run Aug. 1–10 at the Lancaster County Event Center, 84th & Havelock, Lincoln. 4-H exhibits and events will run Aug. 1–4.

I hope you have made plans to get out and visit the fair. If not, it is not too late! This fun outdoor experience is one your children will likely remember for many years.

This time of year brings back many memories of my time at the Scotts Bluff County fair. I was a member of The Buttercups 4-H Club. Some of the exhibits I participated in included sewing, designing babysitting kits, first aid kits, baking, vegetables and dog obedience.

Although it has been a couple of decades since I was a 4-H’er, things haven’t changed much. There are youth enrolled in 4-H across Nebraska who meet monthly to learn important life skills such as: decision making, citizenship, leadership and service to others.

Plan for your day at the fair — Review the fair schedule and make a plan. If your child has a pet dog, check the fair schedule and plan to attend the dog obedience show. There will be a variety of shows and activities available for free for the public. Some of my favorites for young children include the Llama/Alpaca Show, Fun at the Farm Kid Zone in Pavilion 1, Extreme Raptors Show, A-Z Exotic Animals Petting Zoo and a visit through the 4-H static exhibits in the Lincoln Room.

Consider Safety — Using a stroller or wagon for younger children will help you keep them in sight at all times. The fairgrounds are quite large. Identify a meeting spot in case you get separated. Have children who will be walking wear closed-toed shoes. Wear sunscreen and insect repellent and re-apply as necessary. Bring water to drink and snacks to keep your energy up. There will also be snacks available for purchase.

Ask a 4-H’er about their exhibit or animal — It is
extremely rewarding to have exhibits and animals on display at the fair for everyone to see. 4-Her’s can often be found caring for their animals throughout the day. If you or your child have any questions about their animal, please ask the 4-H’er — they know all about their animals.

Remember to wash hands often — It is important to practice good handwashing regardless of where you are at, but when visiting places where animals are housed (like at the fair), handwashing will protect your health and the health of the animal. Remember to ask permission of the owner before touching any animal.

At the 2018 Lancaster County Super Fair, over 750
4-H/FFA youth brought one or more exhibits to the fair and over 5,400 exhibits entered for judging. If you have questions about joining 4-H, please contact the Extension office at 402-441-7180.

If you are unable to make it to the Lancaster County Super Fair, you can see 4-H youth exhibits at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island from Aug. 23 through Sept. 2.


Following these simple guidelines should help to prevent human illness and lessen the chance of animal to animal spread of disease:
• Do not touch or pet animals, except at designated petting exhibits.
• Wash your hands with water and soap after any direct contact with animals.
• Supervise children younger than 5 years during hand washing and petting to make sure they don’t put their hands or other objects into their mouth.
• Avoid eating in animal exhibit areas.
• Do not feed human food to animals.

Source: Nebraska Extension NebGuide “Attending Fairs: Safeguarding Your Health and Nebraska’s Livestock Industry” (G1693)