2018-07-22 / Insight

‘Everybody is excited’

The fair: 4-H’s big week
BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


FFA Advisor Tammy Hyatt (right, behind podium) on July 13 accepted $2,000 from the Anthony Herbert family toward a portable calving pen. A scholarship is named in honor of Anthony Herbert, a former FFA member who died Jan. 17, 2017 at the age of 20 of an undiagnosed enlarged heart. Present for a plaque presentation were Mike and Lori Herbert and their daughter, Kristen. Presenting the Anthony Herbert Memorial plaque to Lori Herbert was Lapeer County FFA President Hannah Newsom. The Lapeer Optimist Club also donated $2,000 to the calving pen. 
Photo by Jeff Hogan FFA Advisor Tammy Hyatt (right, behind podium) on July 13 accepted $2,000 from the Anthony Herbert family toward a portable calving pen. A scholarship is named in honor of Anthony Herbert, a former FFA member who died Jan. 17, 2017 at the age of 20 of an undiagnosed enlarged heart. Present for a plaque presentation were Mike and Lori Herbert and their daughter, Kristen. Presenting the Anthony Herbert Memorial plaque to Lori Herbert was Lapeer County FFA President Hannah Newsom. The Lapeer Optimist Club also donated $2,000 to the calving pen. Photo by Jeff Hogan IMLAY CITY — Without kids and critters a county fair just wouldn’t be a county fair and the Eastern Michigan State Fair is no exception. Two days from now about 500 kids and roughly 1,500 animals will take up residence at the fair grounds for the week.

Fair Manager Ian Kempf said they’ll occupy about 54,000 square feet under three tents and about half that much space in permanent barn space. In those tents and barns will be members of 42 4-H clubs from every corner of the county showing beef, goats, swine, sheep, rabbits and poultry.

Kathy George, the 4-H program coordinator, said 4-H’ers from ages 5 to 19 will show about 3,000 projects including 650 indoor projects in the new 4-H barn next to the FFA Barn.

George, who’s looking forward to her sixth fair since taking over as program coordinator in 2013, said “everybody is excited.” She said people have been working hard for weeks to get ready for the fair, will work hard during the fair to make sure things work smoothly and then will have several days of work to wrap things up after the fair.

It’s all done with the help of 168 adult volunteers and 107 teen volunteers.

George is a fair way from where she started. Before joining the Michigan State University Extension in 2013, she was with Lakestone Bank & Trust and before that she was the corporate event coordinator at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. “I like this,” she said. “It’s hands on. You get to see kids grow up to become well-rounded adults.”

The Eastern Michigan State Fair is one of two equally important events in the 4-H year. In March the group holds its Spring Achievement event when it hands out awards and scholarships.

As always, the fair will feature a series of competitions, starting Monday with rabbit and poultry and followed by sheep and swine Tuesdays; goats, beef and dairy Wednesday; the 4-H FFA livestock auction Thursday; youth livestock judging Friday; and the Challengered ME event, which pairs special needs kids with a partner, on Saturday.

Tammy Hyatt said that while most of her FFA kids are also 4-H’ers some of them compete in livestock under the FFA banner.

“A lot of them start in 4-H at five, six years old as Clover Buds,” Hyatt said.

Hyatt said there are two groups of FFA kids showing at the fair. There are kids who raise their animals at home and show as FFA and those who belong to the animal cooperative. Animal cooperative kids, she explained, keep their animals at Ed-Tech’s Agri- Science Center in Attica Township. They pay a $50 deposit at the beginning of the season, and FFA alumni pick up all the cost of materials for the fair. At the livestock auction, money raised by the animal cooperative entries are pooled, with half going to the FFA Alumni and the other half being divided equally between the participating students.

This year will be Hyatt’s 28th fair. After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in horticulture, crop and soil science the Montrose native planned to take a job at Epcot in Florida. But a hiring freeze led her to work on her master’s degree at MSU and take a job teaching horticulture at Ed-Tech in 1990.

Hyatt fell in love with Lapeer County and never left.

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