By MATT KOESTERS
The Clark County 4-H Fair is set to begin tonight with carnival rides, but the fortunes of the agricultural celebration rest solely in the hands of Mother Nature.
Last year, she wasn’t so kind. The fair’s tractor pull, the 4-H Club’s largest annual fundraiser, was cancelled because of inclement weather. Lightning shut down a night of carnival entertainment. Bob Allen, the Clark County Purdue Extension’s director, hopes that this year will be different.
“We did have bad luck last year, and it was so hot. My goodness,” Allen said. “So I think we’re on good graces, and I think the weather is going to be much better for spectators and patrons this year.”
It better be — the club missed out on raising around $10,000, Allen said.
“We really need to have a good tractor pull, because that’s really our main event ... to help us pay the bills,” Allen said.
The 4-H Club’s luck with the weather wasn’t much better this spring. The annual Ag Day was cancelled because of lightning, so Allen is hoping that the third-graders who didn’t get to experience it will enjoy the livestock and exhibits that will be on display, and an additional Ag Day is tentatively set for the fall.
“Our buildings will be full of all kinds of farm animals,” Allen said. “Our third-grade generation this past year missed out on Ag Day because of inclement weather and scheduling, so our barns will be there with lots of animals for our young audience to witness, too. It’s a shame that it fell that way, but we’re going to try to do some things with an Ag Day this fall to pick up some pieces there.”
But it sounds like there’ll be plenty to see at this year’s version of the fair. Nearly 600 kids will be competing in the 4-H Fair in a variety of categories. Allen can’t give a precise amount because he said the entries were still rolling in on Tuesday.
James Gang Amusements will kick off the fair when it opens carnival rides and concessions beginning at 6 p.m. today. Armbands for the rides will be available for $20. Tomorrow morning will be dedicated to checking in animal exhibits, and projects will be entered and open judged between 9 and 11:30 a.m.
After a full week of activities, the fair will close out with a concert at the Indoor Arena by Savannah Jack, a country band with an impressive résumé, having opened for the likes of John Fogerty, Vince Gill and Kenny Rogers. To learn more about the band, visit www.savannahjack.com.