ROXBURY, NJ - The beloved Morris County 4-H Fair is going virtual this year thanks in part to the work of a Teen 4-H member from Roxbury.

4-H members were disappointed to learn that the annual Morris County 4-H Fair — normally held at Chubb Park in Chester Township — would be cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. But Teen 4-H members Johanna Pipoli of Ledgewood and David Longendyck of Denville decided they could recreate the Fair’s sense of community through Minecraft, an open-world, online game that promotes creativity, collaboration and problem-solving.

Longendyck contacted MCProHosting which donated server space for the project. To help build the virtual Morris County 4-H Fair, the team recruited adult volunteers and youth members representing all 4-H project areas

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The annual 4-H Fair “is the highlight event of the year for our members,” said 4-H Program Associate Kelly Dziak. “Many see the Fair as a sort-of family reunion where 4-Hers from all the clubs get together and have fun. Not having the Fair this year was a big blow to our 4-H community.”

The Minecraft 4-H STEP Club was launched last month with more than 40 youth members and more than 10 adult volunteers. 4-H STEP clubs are short-term exploratory programs that focus on a specific project and meet for just a few weeks.

This is Morris County’s first 4-H STEP Club. The club members’ goal is to have a final product ready for the public to view by July 16, the original opening day for the in-person Morris County 4-H Fair.

“I want everyone to enjoy the 4-H Fair, even if it is virtual,” said Longendyck.

Live events and tours will be scheduled for participants to enjoy during July 16-19. For those without Minecraft accounts, video tours led by the youth members will be available as pre-recorded or live events.

'We Control the Weather'

“This has been an amazing experience,” said club leader Celia Longendyck. “I get to see each member’s favorite part of the Fair plus their imaginative ideas of what the Fair could look like without the constraints of reality.”

 4-H parent and Assistant Club Leader Britt Wagner said the virtual event will be “all of the fun with none of the stress” of the real thing.  “In Minecraft, we control the weather and there are plenty of building materials,” he added

“I want everyone to enjoy the 4-H Fair, even if it is virtual,” said Longendyck.

Live events and tours will be scheduled for participants to enjoy on July 16-19. To connect to the special Minecraft version of the Morris County Fair, visit https://morris.njaes.rutgers.edu/4h/fair/

For those without Minecraft accounts, video tours led by the youth members will be available as pre-recorded or live events.

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