AMES, Iowa – Filmmaking, robotics, cooking and fashion design challenges await young Iowans during 4-H events at the Iowa State Fair.
Iowa teens and pre-teens may apply now to participate in these events, according to Shelly Greving, marketing director for Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development. Applications are available online.
“Youth do not have to be 4-H members to apply for these team challenges. However, at least one member of each team must be a 4-H’er,” Greving said. “It’s easy to join. Information about how to join 4-H is online.
“We’re planning eight days of special challenges during the Iowa State Fair. Visitors to the 4-H Exhibits Building will be entertained and amazed as youth develop and demonstrate their skills in these competitive events."
Budding youth directors and actors across the state will make their film debut in the second annual Iowa 4-H Film Festival Aug. 12 at the Iowa State Fair. Youth who have completed any of grades 5-12 are eligible to participate in the event, said Holly Bignall, with ISU Extension Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET).
Participating teams must create and submit a short film, Bignall said. “Imagine – your original film could be shown on a jumbo screen at the Iowa State Fair!”
“KCWI will sponsor the event for the second year and we thank them for their continued support of Iowa 4-H,” Greving added.
Youth production teams may include one to 10 members. To participate, teams must complete the online registration form by June 1. Film submissions are due by July 1, and films selected for the festival will be announced Aug. 1.
“Teams can begin film production immediately or use footage they’ve previously recorded, so essentially teams have up to three months to prepare their films for the July 1 submission deadline,” Bignall said.
In the second annual Bratney Companies 4-H Robotics Challenge, Iowa youth will show off their robot designing and programming skills. Teams won’t know the exact challenges they’ll face until the event begins, Bignall said.
Then teams will receive two challenges, Bignall explained. First, they’ll use the LEGO Mindstorms© NXT platform to build a robot. In the second challenge they’ll have to build a robot using only the items in a “junk drawer.” At the end of the working period, teams will enter the Challenge Field and set their robots loose to the cheers of spectators.
This year the event will include a senior division challenge on Saturday, Aug. 13, for youth who have completed grades 8-12 and a junior division challenge on Sunday, Aug. 14, for youth who have completed grades 5-8. Teams may include three to 10 youth.
“Youth who have completed eighth grade could participate in either division, depending on the ages of their team members,” Bignall said.
The robotics challenge application is online and the deadline is June 1. Selected applicants will be announced July 1.
“We appreciate Bratney Companies continuing sponsorship of this event,” Bignall said.
The second annual Cook This! 4-H Culinary Challenge, Aug. 15-17, gives teams of fifth through 12th grade youth the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity in food preparation as well as their knowledge of kitchen equipment and their ability to identify produce. Ten teams will participate at each age level, said coordinator Lisa Schmidt.
“Interested youth may apply in two- or three-member teams or individually, in which case we will pair you with other youth,” Schmidt said.
The Cook This application is online and the deadline is June 1. Selected applicants will be announced July 1.
In the third annual Stitch This! 4-H Design Challenge, Aug. 19-20, teens have 16 hours to design new creations based on a fashion concept and using available materials. The challenge culminates in a runway-style fashion show on the 4-H Exhibits Building’s main stage. Teams are judged upon creativity, concept, teamwork, workmanship and presentation.
“We see Stitch This as an opportunity to unite the fashion industry with our youth,” Greving said. All Iowa high school-aged youth who have completed the equivalent of grades 9, 10, 11 or 12 are eligible.
“During the first Stitch This challenge, the teams tore apart wedding gowns and created new fashions. Last year they combined material from prom dresses and denim blue jeans to construct new garments,” Greving said.
“This year we’re taking a different approach. We’ll be selecting a theme with the help of the public and the teams will have to create a garment that coincides with that theme,” Greving explained. “Currently we are taking suggestions for what the theme will be, so you can help us design the Stitch This challenge.”
The Stitch This application is available online and the deadline is June 1. Selected applicants will be announced July 1.
Further details for all these events will be announced throughout the Spring and Summer. Sign up via the Iowa 4-H website to be notified of event updates.
"We are grateful to Bratney Companies and KCWI for their on-going support of these events and we look forward to growing that list of dedicated State Fair event supporters," Greving said.
Sponsorship opportunities are still available for many of the 4-H challenge events at the Iowa State Fair, Greving said. “Specifically, the Stitch This! 4-H Design Challenge is looking for team sponsorships at $200 per team and an overall event sponsorship of $2,000. Recognition opportunities also are available.”
“We are seeking financial and in-kind contributions, and have sponsorships available at several levels,” Greving said.
For more information about becoming a challenge sponsor, contact Greving at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 515-294-1607.
ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development is also accepting applications for volunteers to help plan and coordinate the 4-H challenge events, as well as mentor teams during the challenges, Greving said.
“We also need volunteers to help with other 4-H activities throughout the State Fair. Every year the 4-H Exhibits Building features more than 3,000 exhibits from 4-H’ers around the state. 4-H livestock events are also recruiting volunteer help,” Greving said.
Anyone interested in volunteering to assist with 4-H events at the Iowa State Fair may apply online.