(Posted July 7, 2019)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Madison County Junior Fair Board (JFB), the youth-led group that runs all of the youth shows at the Madison County Fair, is trying a couple of new things this year. One gives back to the community, and the other gives back to 4-H and FFA exhibitors.
First up is a penny war.
“We are holding a penny war between the barns to raise money for Sufficient Grace,” said Marissa Osterloh, 17, JFB president, member of the Country Bunch 4-H Club, and a 2019 London High School graduate.
Here’s how it works: Money collection jars are placed in each of the specie barns and at the JFB office. Throughout fair week (July 7-13), anyone can drop money in the jars. Pennies count as positive points. Silver coins and cash count as negative points. The barn with the most positive points at the end of the week wins a banner.
“We did penny wars (for different causes) when I was in high school,” Osterloh said. “The seniors ganged up on the freshmen and put a bunch of silver and cash in their jars. At the end, the freshmen raised the most actual money but had the fewest points.”
She hopes the same kind of friendly rivalries develop among the fair folks, resulting in a nice donation for Sufficient Grace, a non-profit program that provides local school-age children with non-perishable food items to take home.
“We thought that since 4-H is a youth program and a lot of our members are involved with Sufficient Grace, this would be a good way to give back for all that everyone does for us,” Osterloh said.
Once the penny war is over, JFB members will present West Jefferson resident Tracy Kronk, founder of Sufficient Grace, with a check during the Grand Showman of Showmen contest on Friday of fair week.
The board plans to make the penny war an annual event with a different beneficiary each year.
The other new JFB activity is a dance for all 4-H and FFA youths who exhibited at the fair. It will take place in the Della Selsor Building after the livestock sale on Saturday of fair week.
Luke Furbee, a Madison-Plains FFA member and relatively new JFB member, came up with the idea as a way for exhibitors to unwind after a long week. The Furbee family is sponsoring a DJ. Snacks and water are on the menu, and 4-H camp counselors will leading line dancing.
“It’s a bonding experience for all of the kids who put so much work in all week. They deserve to have some fun,” Osterloh said.
The Madison County Junior Fair Board meets monthly to consider changes and improvements for the fair. During fair week, board members are responsible for running all of the Junior Fair shows. They receive help from their adult counterparts on the Senior Fair Board and Junior Fair Livestock Sale Commitee.
This year’s Junior Fair Board officers are: Marissa Osterloh, president; Haylee Henry, vice president; Ali Moore, secretary; Luke Furbee, treasurer; and Allison Dudgeon, sergeant at arms. A total of 19 youths serve on the board. The group will hold a “Sign up for JFB Day” during the livestock sale on Saturday. Everyone who signs up receives a free snow cone. Interested youths must be at least 14 years old and go through an interview process.
To learn more about JFB, call the Madison County Extension Office at (740) 852-0975.
The 2019 Madison County Fair runs July 7-13. The fairgrounds are located at 205 Elm St., London. For a full schedule of events, go to Fair Schedule.