Mower County Fair, 4-H for everyone

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 12, 2000

The Mower County Fair Board is right – the annual Mower County Fair is a family reunion.

Saturday, August 12, 2000

The Mower County Fair Board is right – the annual Mower County Fair is a family reunion.

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People come to the fair to see and be seen.

Evidence is everywhere.

Young couples pushing strollers with babies inside. Grandparents weaving through the crowds on the way to meet friends. Teenagers moving at a quicker pace. Preteens darting in and out of traffic congestion and always in a hurry.

Everywhere there is humankind, and frequently they are interacting. For instance: 4-H activities.

Watching small children stare in awe at the huge dairy cows and beef cattle being shown in Crane Pavilion, one can only wonder: when will they show livestock at the county fair in hopes of winning a blue ribbon and a state to the Minnesota State Fair?

That’s the dream of every 4-Her who comes to the county fair.

But there is more evidence of family values in abundance at a county fair like this and most of it comes from the ranks of 4-Hers and their families.

Dan and Margo Bissen, like other families, help the members of the Windom 4-H club.

On Friday night, they were credited with designing the set and background for the 4-H Fashion Revue in Crane Pavilion.

It was appropriately enough a farm scene and everybody was pointing to it when they entered the building to take their seats.

Mrs. Bissen and two of her children also provided music during the interludes caused by picture-taking of the winners in each fashion category.

While children Ray, Tony, Tim and even Mary, only 3, filled their roles, mother and father filled thier’s.

No other activity than 4-H requires so much co-mingling of parents and children, and the Bissen family is but one example.

In 4-H, things begin and things end.

Michael VanBuskirk, son of Neal and Angela Anderson, 9, earned two arm-fulls of ribbons, trophies and plaques in the poultry show in only his first year of competition.

Rebecca Thompson, daughter of Scott and Brenda Thompson and wife of Darin Voigt, earned a ribbon in her last year of competition.

4-H begins and ends, leaving memories for those who wave "Goodbye" and creating moments for the next generation.

Inside historic Crane Pavilion, the boys and girls, plus their teenage peers, too, created excitement for families, other relatives and friends, when their livestock project was named the judge’s choice of champion.

And, it seems, when one 4-Her wins, everybody wins in the extended family that 4-H is.

A lot of caring goes on behind the scenes in 4-H at the County Fair.

One of this year’s 4-H champions was Lewis Sorensen, who showed the reserve champion 4-H market wether.

He is 12 years old and a member of the Red Rock Rangers and, along with his brothers, Lance and Kenny, is being raised by their grandmother, Charlotte Sorensen.

Mrs. Sorensen is the widow of the late Donald Sorenson, a member of the Mower County Livestock Hall of Fame. Her daughter, Brenda, is deceased, and she is raising Brenda’s three sons on her own.

Lewis’ uncles and aunts, among them, Nels, a favorite, watched Lewis win his pink ribbon and a trip to the state fair in a drama that unfolds countless times every day at the Mower County Fair each August.

Uncle Nels to observers was as nervous about showing the sheep as young Lewis was and as excited when the judge’s shook the boy’s hand in congratulations.

Every Sorensen in Crane Pavilion was smiling and clapping along with the crowd of spectators that day.

Nothing unusual about a young 4-Her achieving their goal, of course.

There should be nothing unusual about this also.

Lewis and his brothers are African-Americans, which only proves once again that 4-H is, indeed, for everyone.

Just like the Mower County Fair.