Photos: Taking special interest in the fair

(Posted July 13, 2020)

By Theresa Hennis, Staff Writer

It was all about special interest projects on July 11, the first day of the 2020 Madison County Fair. Judging took place in the Coughlin Equine Arena at the Madison County Fairgrounds in London. The atmosphere was one of fun and friendly competition, despite COVID-19 safety regulations requiring facial coverings and social distancing.

Today’s fair schedule includes:
9 a.m.–Equine Show (English classes) in the Coughlin Equine Arena

10 a.m.–Sheep Show in the EBY Arena

4 p.m.–Goat Show in the EBY Arena

Admission to the fair is free. For more information, visit or

Colton Willing, 13, a West Jefferson resident and member of the Fairfield Rascals 4-H Club, talks with Rebekah Headings, special interest projects judge and Plain City resident. Willing entered the woodworking and gardening categories. His woodworking projects included a birdhouse, napkin holder and footstool. His vegetable projects included green peppers, cucumbers and broccoli. “I’ve always liked woodworking,” Willing said. “My dad and grandpa do woodworking. My favorite thing to make was the footstool. And everyone in my family likes to garden.” Headings, whose family has been involved with 4-H since the 1920s, had this to say about the 4-H experience: “To make the best better is the 4-H motto. I see judging as a teaching moment on how they can improve their projects and make them better. 4-H is about improving yourself and your world.”
Seth Evans, special interest projects judge, poses with Madelyne Bartoe, 14, who entered projects in the “Keeping Fit” and “The Writer in You” categories. “I’ve always been involved in sports,” said Bartoe, a Plain City resident and member of the Monroe Winners 4-H Club. “Learning about fitness and keeping fit motivated me to do track, to know how good exercising can be for you.” Writing is another of her favorite things to do. “One thing I like is writing poetry and reading other people’s poetry. I learned a lot from this project. It was very educational.” Evans, a London resident and a pastor at First United Methodist Church in London, said he enjoyed judging Bartoe’s and other 4-Hers’ projects. “I love the 4-H community,” he said. “I was in 4-H all throughout my childhood and in high school. It was a great experience.”
London resident Annette Rinesmith hands out t-shirts featuring a message from the Farm Bureau: “Today’s struggle is tomorrow’s strength. Greener pastures ahead. #MadCo2020.” Sponsors made it possible for every fair participant to get one of the shirts for free. In addition to her involvement with Farm Bureau, Rinesmith is active in the Madison County 4-H program, serving as advisor of the Fairfield Rascals 4-H Club, among other positions. About this year’s fair, she said, “With everything that’s going on in our world, it warms everyone’s hearts to see these kids and their families here doing good for the future.”
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