The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity as 4-H Youth Development members prepare to showcase their projects at the 2018 Ashland County Fair.

"A lot of our (activities) that we’ve done have been from kids’ suggestions about things," said Kathy Blackford, the Ashland County OSU extension educator for 4-H Youth Development.

The 4-H Baking Contest was put into play at the fair several years ago at the suggestion of the food and fashion boards within 4-H, she said.

Projects vary, and 4-H members can participate in activities like market and breeding animals, photography, robotics, baking, sewing and scrapbook displays.

"It’s a nice time for grandma and grandpa to come and see and your friends to see (the childrens’) names," said Blackford. "For many kids, that’s what they look forward to."

The participants are responsible for completion, evaluation and registration of individual projects before they can be shown, enforcing concepts of accountability and responsibility, which is a goal for 4-H. According to Blackford, there are over 200 types of activities participants can choose from, but there are also "self-determined" projects. 

"The kids can make up their own project and decide the goals they want to achieve," she said.

While participation in the fair is not required in 4-H, members who choose to opt out still receive recognition for being part of their individual program or club.

However, for those who do participate, there are opportunities to enter several different shows and contests.

Blackford also uses the fair as a forum to educate the community on what 4-H is about and the programs they offer. She said there will be an "interactive" display at the fair this year with science projects that participants will be able to take home with them.

"We’re going to try to show kids what they can do and give them information because kids that have never been in 4-H come and see all the stuff and then they want to get involved," Blackford said.

4-H’s 22nd Annual Baking Contest will take place on Saturday, Sept. 22 and contestants will receive a free milkshake at the Dairy Bar for their participation. Some youth categories include chocolate chip cookies, fudge, candy, no-bake cookies and quick bread.

Volunteer and Parent categories include any cookie, pie or  theme-related item. The baking theme for 2018 is "Discover the Treasures of 4-H."

While the fair is a chance for 4-H members to show off their hard work, Blackford stressed it is a program that offers events throughout the year.

"4-H is more than just one week," she said. "(Children) can work all through the year to build up for fair and then they can show their project.