HOLTVILLE – The 4H Clubs of Imperial Valley took their first swipe at competing against each other in Mini Gardens, Large Animal, and Small Animal Pre-Fair Saturday Morning at the Desert Research Extension Center (DREC) at Meloland.
The Pre-Fair allows 4-H’ers to see how their animals do in different environments, with their handlers who might be nervous from being judged, and for the children, they find the holes in their showmanship techniques.
Clubs from across the Valley arrive early Saturday morning hauling swine, rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, sheep, and a variety of other livestock show animals. After signing up, the organizers put novice against novice, intermediate against intermediate, and finally, the seniors go head to head.
Each animal is shown according to fair rules. What they do at the pre-fair will mimic what they are asked to do later at the California Mid-Winter Fair in one month. This gives novice youth a chance to not only put in practice what they have learned the last 60 days with their animal, but to also watch the veterans to learn ringside.
Around the corner from the show ring, is one of DREC’s greenhouses where Maryanne Smith organizes the yearly 4-H Plant Show.
Again, the contest is organized by experience, but also by category, such as vegetable, succulant, and miscellaneous to name a few. The plants are judged on health, vigor, color, proper potting and pot size.
The plants final destination will be the Fair, also.
“I have a passion for gardening and helping the Valley youth become better gardeners,” volunteer judge Cindy Elmore said.