Thursday, November 23, 2017 Elyria 26°


Lorain County Fair looking for past 4-H pictures


Kids at the Lorain County Junior Fair these days can snap a selfie on their smartphone and instantly post it on the walls of their favorite social media site.

But local 4-H advisers are planning to go old school this year by displaying real photographs on real walls — the older the better — and they need your help.

4-H clubs around the country are planning to mark this year’s 100th anniversary of the organization. As part of those celebrations, the Lorain County 4-H fair committee — the adult advisory board to the Junior Fair board — is asking for anyone who participated in the county’s Junior Fair to submit old photos to be displayed during this year’s fair, which runs Aug. 18 through 24.

Donna Forbush, a 4-H committee member, said she expects the committee will receive plenty of more recent photos but hopes a public plea might unearth some truly old gems. Anyone who has ever shown at the fair is welcome, she said.

The 4-H program is credited to A.B. Graham, who instituted a youth program in Clark County, Ohio, in 1902. But the program, which partners education, self-reliance, and community involvement, was nationalized in 1914 with the passage of the Smith-Lever Act, creating the Cooperative Extension System. The law forged a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and land-grant universities throughout the United States.

While 4-H programs were traditionally geared for rural populations, its stance has shifted along with demographics. Today 4-H programs still support agriculture and animal husbandry, while also exploring topics such as climate change, water quality and usage, alternative energy, robotics, computer science and DNA analysis, according to the organization.

The 4-H system — head, heart, hands and health — is strong in Lorain County. Forbush said there are more than 2,000 students between ages 9 and 18 in 243 clubs. The county’s Junior Fair is one of the largest in the state, she said.

The photo display will be in a booth in the Junior Fair barn. Forbush said it will likely be in the same booth as the very popular “Penny Wars” is held every year. Each 4-H club is assigned a jar where visitors leave coins; the money is raised to send kids to 4-H camps, and the winning club receives an ice cream social. The rules of collection change every day — for instance, during last year’s fair on “double positive day,” when pennies counted double, one club father rolled in a wheelbarrow $500 in pennies.

Forbush, who is Junior Fair royalty in a way as three of her sons have been appointed Junior Fair kings, said she is putting in pictures of her own kids’ projects and her husband and his brothers are submitting photos of the “hog and sheep” projects from the 1970s.

“It’s just a matter of getting the word out. Maybe there are people out there who used to be in 4-H but haven’t been involved for years, or their kids have grown and moved away and their parents have run across old pictures,” she said. “We’d love to get the older ones, the ones from the 1930s or 1940s. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?”

Contact Rini Jeffers at 329-7155 or


  • Send copies of photos to OSU Extension Office, 42110 Russia Road, Elyria OH 44035. Please note “photos” on the outside of the envelope. For information, call the Extension Office at (440) 326-5851 or email Donna Forbush at Photos will not be returned.

Click to view comments
To Top

Fetching stories…