Tuesday Update: Preparing for county fairs

June 1, 2021

Throughout the state, our extension professionals, council members, and volunteers are preparing for “normal” county fairs. Debbie Nistler, 4-H state program leader, says 4-H is taking the lessons learned in 2020 and, where appropriate, applying them to the 2021 county fair season. People are looking forward to being together, providing in-person judging of exhibits, and having a county fair experience, no matter what challenges they may face.

4-H program specialist Mitch Hoyer says many new staff either haven’t been through a county fair at all or if they were here last year, they haven’t been through a “normal” fair. 4-H training is preparing them to deal with the unpredictability that can be part of the fair at any time, while addressing continuing COVID-19 concerns and providing safe environments. Some practices that were implemented last year may continue, such as more specific schedules for judging times and spacing check-in stations. Staff found these changes made events work better, with less congestion and shorter wait times.

In 2021 fairs continue to provide opportunities for Iowans to have unique 4-H learning experiences. 4-H youth can demonstrate what they learned and be recognized for their accomplishments. With feedback from a caring adult, they can measure their progress toward meeting standards of excellence and reaching their goals. Fairs also provide an opportunity for the public to better understand what 4-H youth can achieve. (Visit the Association of Iowa Fairs for a list of fairs by county.)

Plan for your 2021 stakeholder report

While you are at your county fair or other events this summer, consider taking photos to use in your 2021 county stakeholder report. Rather than being a year-end summary, your stakeholder report is your county’s ongoing, year-round story. See Advancement’s DYK? Stakeholder Reports video for tips on how to plan for your report.

New equal opportunity specialist liaison

Effective today, Neo Thurston Jr. will serve as equal opportunity specialist liaison for ISU Extension and Outreach. Previously Neo chaired Iowa State’s Department of Residence Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He also has worked for the public and private sector in various roles centering on leadership, diversity, inclusion, and organizational alignment. As a consultant, Neo worked with organizations to establish frameworks of policy and practices that advance an organization’s recognition in the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Neo received his bachelor’s degree in geological sciences/engineering from Minnesota State University and a Master of Education from Iowa State University. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Drake University. You can contact Neo at neojr@iastate.edu.

More notes

  • If you wish to highlight national or statewide awareness months, weeks, and days in a social media account you manage on behalf of ISU Extension and Outreach, first please review our Representation in ISU Extension and Outreach Materials information. Also look to our main ISU Extension and Outreach and Iowa State University social media accounts as a guide for content and statements regarding social justice events. For more information, see the "national day/month/week" section on the social media images page in MyExtension.
  • In past years, ISU Extension and Outreach has partnered with the ISU solar car team PrISUm for their annual SunRun across the state. This year we all are invited to the PrISUm solar car team virtual event June 18, 1:00-3:00 p.m., when the team unveils Eliana, their new solar car, and shares upcoming plans. If you would like to attend, please complete the RSVP form.
  • Ron and Mary Esther Pullin and Kay Connelly will be honored during the Waterloo Courier’s 8 over 80 awards event June 16 in Cedar Falls. The event recognizes community members over age 80 for lifetime accomplishments of leadership and community betterment, and who continue to be successful in their vocation or have been a role model and mentor to others. Ron and Mary Esther are longtime Black Hawk County 4-H leaders, volunteers, and supporters. Kay’s work as an extension professional included serving as Butler County director and as an area crop specialist. He also helped plan for the ISU Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm and has mentored several generations of new staff. For more information, contact Shelly Smith, Black Hawk County executive director, shellys@iastate.edu.

John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach