This Saturday, the Clinton County Fair comes back to Wilmington for a weeklong celebration of summer, agriculture, local crafts and businesses, and most of all, community. This year marks the 183rd year for the fair, which was made possible through legislation by Clinton County’s own representative to the state legislature, Eli Gaskill. In 1833, a bill authorized the establishment of agricultural societies in the state and thus, fairs and festivals just like ours in Clinton County were organized all across Ohio.

One of the most well-known and important aspects of the Clinton County Fair is the participation of the 4-H program. Many people don’t realize it, but 4-H actually began right here in Ohio! Originally called the “Boy’s and Girl’s Agricultural Club” in 1902, 4-H has a long history and tradition at county fairs across the nation, but especially in Ohio. The group’s intent was to teach children the basics of agriculture—planting a garden, harvesting corn, identifying wildlife and more. Today’s organization still incorporates those basics, but has expanded to take on modern issues, like sustainable energy, food safety, and food security, across both rural and urban communities.

4-H is a great way for students to get involved and serve their communities while developing a passion for agriculture and science and creating a foundation to education and eventually a fulfilling career. With modern advances in technology, the association has a vast amount of opportunities to explore, from the more traditional animal sciences to robotics and computer science. 4-H helps to create our nation’s next leaders and prepares them to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

I always look forward to seeing traditional events at the fair such as the horse, dairy, and sheep shows. These allow people to meet students who have already developed a unique knowledge of the agricultural and animal sciences. Their drive and experience, often before they have even entered college, is truly an inspiration. Ohio remains a strong agricultural state in our country, and I know those involved with 4-H and the county fairs will go on to much success.

The Clinton County Fair is a fun and educational opportunity to get out and get involved with our youth and the community. Not only can you check out the butter shaking contest and see the judging of some incredible woodworking, but there will be rides and plenty of local fair foods to enjoy. I love seeing our community and region come together at the fair, and I hope to see you there!

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