Youth ready for fun at the fair
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
It's a safe bet to find a lot of green every year at the Ellis County Fair.
Anything from benches to poles and trim in the animal barns, and even duct tape, sport the signature color of 4-H. At Wednesday's annual cleanup night at the fairgrounds, there even was a green GMC pickup sitting by the small animal barn.
This year, there will be a combination of bright colors making their way around the fairgrounds at the 2014 county fair, which begins today with the annual 4-H Style Revue and gets into full swing Sunday.
The 4-H council is selling T-shirts as a fundraiser for a new food stand. Its goal is to raise $50,000 for the project, with hopes of having a new food stand ready to service visitors to the 2015 fair.
"That particular building was a chicken coop that was moved there, and it was re-purposed," said Michelle Thacker, an adult leader for the Good Hope 4-H Club who is heading the T-shirt fundraiser. "The facility is old and run down, and I thought, 'Why can't there be a solution? Why can't we have a new one?' "
So Thacker and others started thinking of ways to fund the project for a new food stand.
Lane Pfannenstiel, president of the 4-H council -- the governing body of the eight Ellis County 4-H Clubs -- and Thacker gave a presentation at an Ellis County Commission meeting, asking for commissioners' help demolishing the old building and cleanup. The council plans to give a similar presentation to the Public Works Department for the city of Hays.
Profits from the food stand serve as the bulk of the 4-H council's budget throughout the year, so most of the money for a new stand has to be raised separately.
The council already has had several other fundraisers such as a bake sale, a garage sale, a dine-in night at Freddy's Frozen Custard and a letter-writing campaign to 4-H families, alumni and supporters.
Plans for the new food stand include a kitchen "that can be used for the clubs for our food projects," Thacker said.
The outdoor seating would all be on one side of the building so people can sit and eat and watch action in the nearby show arena.
But first, money has to be raised to make that dream a reality.
The goal for the original T-shirt project was $1,000, but orders for T-shirts has picked up lately, so Thacker said the goal now is $1,500.
Shirts can be ordered for $12 at the 4-H food stand, which features hamburgers, hot dogs and sloppy joe sandwiches, as well as numerous snacks -- including nachos and ice cream. The council tries to come up with a new food item each year, and this year is home fries.
"The kids will be in there cutting the potatoes," Thacker said, "and we hope home fries becomes a signature item."
While T-shirt orders will be taken at the fair, available in four different colors -- pink, charcoal, electric green and neon yellow -- 4-H'ers and other supporters already will be sporting some of the new shirts during the fair, especially Wednesday, which has been designated as Fair Pride Night.
The 4-H food stand, run entirely by the county 4-H clubs, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday during fair week.
A complete schedule can be found online at www.elliscountyfair.com.