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4-H at the Waukesha County Fair

4-H Projects at the Fair

  • Details about the Waukesha County Fair

    The Waukesha County Fair is where the 4-H youth display their projects and animals. The Waukesha County Fair takes place the third week in July.

    4-H is a huge part of the Waukesha County Fair and showing at the Waukesha County Fair is a huge part of 4-H, however, they are separate organizations. (Please don’t be offended if the 4-H office tells you to call the Fair office or vice versa – we don’t know everything about the Fair and they don’t know everything about 4-H.)

    As you may have already noticed, 4-H has a bit of a language all it’s own and unfortunately, so does the Fair. So before we go any farther, we’ll define some of the common words/phrases….

    • Fair Book – contains the information (rules, entry descriptions, premium amounts, etc.) necessary for entering at the Waukesha County Fair. Everyone has access to the online version (http://www.waukeshacountyfair.com/entry-info); the specific information for entering 4-H projects is found under the Junior Class section on this webpage. 
    • Fair Entry – a 4-H project that you show at the Waukesha County Fair.
    • Fair Tag – 4-H members receive a fair tag for each Fair Entry they registered on the Waukesha County Fair’s website. This tag lists such information as the exhibitor’s name, age, city, and 4-H club as well as the department, class, and entry number of the exhibit. The appropriate fair tag must be attached to each exhibit (check the Fair Book for the specific location/method of attaching the fair tag for each exhibit) entered at Fair.
    • Claim Check – Each fair tag has a claim check on the bottom of the tag. Remove the claim check and keep it. You will need to bring all your claim checks to the project release, the Sunday evening (7:15-9 pm) of Fair in the Arena Building, in order to pick up your exhibits.
    • Face-to-face Judging – 4-H members sit down one-on-one with a judge and explain their exhibits and answer questions. This is held in the 4-H Forum on the Waukesha County Fairgrounds the Monday & Tuesday afternoon before Fair.
    • Premium – The monetary award each exhibit receives. This is based on the ranking (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th) the judge awards. The amount of premiums can be found in the Fair Book; the amounts vary across categories. Exhibits must be picked up during the project release the Sunday evening (7-9 pm) of Fair to be eligible to receive the premium.
    • Fair Check – After Fair, each exhibitor will receive one fair check for the total amount of premiums which that exhibitor won at the Fair.
  • I'm Showing at the Waukesha County Fair

    You’ve made the commitment to 4-H and it’s time to add the Fair piece to your 4-H experience.

    Preparing Projects for Fair

    Once you have determined what projects you plan to enter at Fair, it is time to actually make your projects and get them ready for Fair!

    • Now that you have signed up for the projects you want to enter, it is time to make them
      • Have fun making your projects – learn new techniques and skills, be creative, do your best work.
        • Try not to wait until the last day to finish your projects. You might run out of time to finish (i.e. glue/paint must be dry). Also, if you come across any problems, you might need some time to fix it or find the right materials to finish your project.
      • Make sure to follow all applicable rules from your department’s class and entry number or the judge can lower your placing.
      • If you complete a 4-H Record Book, keep track of cost of project, hours spent, tools and materials used as well as new skills learned so you can fill out these sections of your 4-H Project Record Sheet.
    • Once you have completed your projects, it is time to get them ready to enter at the fair
      • Attach the matching entry tag where specified in the rules for your project.
      • Keep the claim check that is found on the bottom of each entry tag – you will need it to pick up your projects when projects are released at 7:15 pm the Sunday of Fair.
      • Make sure to finish project as specified in the fair rules, if applicable – correct size, correct way to hang, correct number of items, etc.
  • Important Dates I need to know about the Waukesha County Fair

    March 1 4-H project change deadline

    • Add any 4-H projects to your original enrollment with the county 4-H office by March 1 so you are eligible to submit entries in these 4-H projects at the Waukesha County Fair.

    BEFORE June 15 Fair entries must be completed online by June 15

    • Make sure you have entered your fair entries online BY June 15 to participate in the Fair.
    • Doing your online entry:
      • List your project entries – for department and entry number, check the Fair Book (see Department categories under the Junior Class on the Fair’s webpage at http://www.waukeshacountyfair.com/entry-info – these are different than the 4-H project numbers.)
    • Order your fair tickets & parking at a discount – 4-H members, leaders, and parents can order discounted tickets on the fair card.

    Monday & Tuesday before FairFace-to-face judging

    • Held in the Arena Building on the Waukesha County Fairgrounds
    • To find out when your project is judged, read the Fair Judging Schedule on the Fair webpage.

    Wednesday–Sunday of FairWaukesha County Fair

    • Find special events on the fairgrounds by checking out the daily fair schedule at http://www.waukeshacountyfair.com/schedule/july-18.
    • Visit the Youth in Action Stage in the Arena Building for drama, music, dance and demonstrations put on by 4-H members. 
    • View Youth, Open, and Senior Class entries in the Arena Building.
    • Visit the barns and show ring for competitions and judging.

    Sunday of FairFair project release 7:15-9 pm in all classes

    • Bring your claim checks and pick up your fair exhibits in the Arena Building.
    • Exhibits must be picked up between 7:15-9 pm on Sunday. Exhibits not picked up during this time will forfeit all premiums. These exhibits must then be picked up from the Fair Office between the Thursday following fair and August 1. Any items not picked up by August 1 become property of the Waukesha County Fair.

    Unless you go on the Waukesha County Fair’s website and entered your 4-H projects as Fair Entries, you’re not showing at the Fair. The deadline is June 15 – so don’t forget!!!


Waukesha County 4-H Staff

Youth and Family Educator

James M. Boling, Jr.
(262) 548-7784

4-H Support Staff

Molly Ellis
(262) 548-7774


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4-H Extension Waukesha County
Univeristy of Wisconsin Madison
515 W. Moreland Blvd., AC G22
Waukesha, WI 53188

A Letter about the Waukesha County Fair from a former 4-H youth:

I would like to share with you why the Waukesha County Fair is so important in 4-H. I would like to share the awesome experiences gained through participating in county fair through 4-H.

The Waukesha County Fair is the highlight of the 4-H year. When my family first joined 4-H about nine years ago, we did not realize how important Fair is in the 4-H year. After our first Fair, we were hooked because it is such an awesome experience!

The Fair week begins with two days of face-to-face judging of your completed 4-H projects. While at first this may seem a little scary, it is actually a great experience. You are able to explain to a judge your project and what you learned during the year. Then the judge can compliment you on what you did well and advise you on how to improve for future projects. Through this experience, I have received useful advice on my projects. I also was able to develop communication skills that have been useful when interviewing for internships and jobs.

The Fair officially begins on Wednesday afternoon. It is always exciting to see if you or your friends or club members won any merit, champion, or state fair ribbons. It’s a great goal to work towards in your projects as these awards are given out to the top projects in a department.

Volunteering at the Fair is also a rewarding experience. My family has volunteered at the 4-H Food Stand for years. I especially enjoy making the cream puffs! Here I have grown in teamwork and leadership skills as I work with fellow club members to run the kitchen to serve fairgoers. Other ways you can volunteer are helping set-up the 4-H areas at the Fair, assisting judges, helping young fairgoers make crafts at the 4-H Activity Center, and cleaning up after Fair.

Performing at the Fair on the Youth in Action stage in the 4-H Forum is also a great experience and lots of fun. Many 4-H members perform music, demonstration speeches, dance, and drama, and the Style Revue showcases sewing skills of 4-H members. During my years in 4-H, I have played piano, given a few demos, and performed with the cloggers. While you may think it sounds intimidating to perform at fair, I encourage you to try it. You will gain more confidence in speaking or performing before an audience and you might just discover that you enjoy the experience!

And, although 4-H offers lots of activities and volunteer opportunities to keep you busy at the Fair, make sure to explore the fairgrounds as well. Stop by the Action Center, watch the annual show on the grounds and visit the vendors.

I have participated in every Fair for the last eight years…and it’s been lots of fun and creates great memories! If you haven’t been to Fair yet, I encourage you to make sure this year is your first Fair…and it probably won’t be your last!


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