BRIDGEWATER, NJ - For many residents of Somerset County, summer means it’s time for the annual Somerset County 4-H Fair.
This community-based event has a tradition of providing free, family fun for over 70 years. The three days of the fair this year are Aug. 7, 8 and 9, at the 4-H Fairgrounds at North Branch Park, in Bridgewater, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Free shuttle busing is available from Raritan Valley Community College, in Branchburg.
Visit 4HisTops.org for maps, schedules and more.
One of the best things about the Somerset County 4-H Fair is that it’s free family fun for all ages. The fair is sponsored by the Somerset County 4-H Association and the County Board of Chosen Freeholders in support of the 4-H Youth Development Program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Partnerships with Somerset County Park Commission and Raritan Valley Community College also help keep the fair free year after year.
All fairgoers are able to park and enter the fair free of charge. Parking is also available at Raritan Valley Community College.
Avoid the fuss and ride the bus by taking a free shuttle bus directly over to the fairgrounds. Fairgoers are able to walk right in and begin exploring all the different tents and entertainment opportunities the fair has to offer. (Please leave pets at home!)
One of the many reasons to attend the 4-H Fair is to gain exposure to topics and experiences you may not have otherwise. Individuals who may have grown up without farmland around have the opportunity to learn about the care and keeping of cows, goats, horses, sheep and many other animals.
Additionally, visitors can enjoy other categories such as arts and different creative outlets, robotics, model trains, model airplanes and more. Dog shows, go-kart events and performances by the 4-H Clover Ensemble should not be missed.
Each tent is run entirely by volunteers, and they are always filled with 4-H members who will answer any questions or talk about their club. There are activities for children in all 4-H tents, and professional and amateur entertainment keeps visitors entertained in three different locations: the Showmobile, Clover Theater and the 4-H Prep Tent for younger guests to enjoy interactive performances.
Visitors can also enjoy the delicious food in the food tent at the center of the fairgrounds. There are options to make every palate happy, from classic \fair food such as cheesesteaks, burgers, sausage and peppers, funnel cake and cotton candy, to unexpected choices such as Southern fish fry, Chinese lo mein, a vegetarian hummus platter, Indian chicken or vegetable curry.
The food tent is comprised of 20 non-profit/local community service, faith based and youth organizations. The hard work that goes into food preparation and the profit from sales will enable these organizations to grow, develop and strengthen their community ties in the process.
Informative tents, such as the county government tent, let community members interact with different county departments such as human services, engineering, office of emergency management, cultural and heritage commission, youth services, and the department of health. Visitors will be surprised at how many county offices and services are available to help residents.
Additionally, businesses located in Somerset County have the opportunity to sponsor various aspects of the fair, or purchase space to promote their businesses. This enables many local organizations to not only advertise their services, but show their involvement and community support as well.
Fairgoers have the chance to interact with the business to see what local services are available. There is still time for businesses to reserve space. Visit 4hfair.eventbrite.com
One of the most amazing things to witness while attending the fair is the incredible amount of hard work and dedication our volunteers put in to make the fair a success. The adult volunteers who mentor 4-H members have the unique opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills and witness first-hand the growth and development of participating children, all while sharing their hobbies and passions with other individuals who share similar interests.
Visitors also get the opportunity to see the culmination of the efforts 4-Her’s have put into their projects throughout the year. It’s a great chance to see the effects of hard work paired with a strong sense of community where children can interact and build friendships with youth in different towns that share similar interests.
The presentations and tasks required of 4-H members during the fair help to develop public speaking skills, time-management skills, responsibility and a sense of community. The passion and energy the volunteers and members have towards sharing their interests with the community is truly infectious.
As the summer days fly by, don’t forget to mark your calendars for free, family fun at the Somerset County 4-H Fair. See the truly amazing results of what happens when individuals from different backgrounds collaborate in their efforts to share in a common goal. Perhaps you may find an area that sparks your interest and inspires you to become part of the Somerset County 4-H Community! Visit 4HisTops.org to join or volunteer.