The Putnam 4-H Fair is the future of Putnam County. Last weekend, with ideal weather conditions, thousands of men, women and children of all ages attended the three-day event at the Putnam Veterans Memorial Park in Kent.
Tabbed as the “highlight” of the summer season across the county, this year’s fair – the 46th annual – was held in honor of Nan Ernst, a dedicated 4-H volunteer who shares her time and performing arts talent as the Entertainment Chair.
For 20 years, Ernst has produced the Fair’s Shady Grove Theater. Cornell Cooperative Extension Executive Director Marjorie Keith described Ernst as a woman “committed to making a difference. Nan volunteers her time and talents in many ways – with numerous organizations – to make Putnam County a better place in which to live, work and raise a family.”
State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef told Friday’s opening ceremony: “The Putnam 4-H Fair is one of this county’s most critical programs because by investing in our youth, we are investing in America.”
The fair featured something for everyone from the Shady Grove Theater to the Master Gardeners Tent, a science and magic show, a delicious chicken dinner, livestock showmanship, a Revolutionary and Civil War encampment and an old fashioned community auction.
Keith looked around at the fairgrounds jammed with people of all ages and reflected on the first 4-H Fair held
in 1971: “The 4-H Fair began as a special culture by stressing hometown and people helping people. Our first fair consisted of a single tent with no running water. Over the years, the volunteer effort has expanded to include everything from selling food to parking cars. Kids help in the games tent. The event each year highlights Putnam County coming together. It has been one of this county’s greatest endeavors.”