The Wallkill Valley was well represented this past weekend at the annual 4-H Fair in Otisville.
Lucy T. Joyce, Executive Director of the program was on hand throughout the weekend. Joyce is an experienced raiser and handler of numerous farm animals, which is a core component of both the 4-H program and a key attraction and focus of the weekend’s fair.
“Youth development is really at the core of everything we do at 4-H,” Joyce said. “For those that don’t know, the 4-H’s stand for: Head, Heart, Hands and Health.”
Specifically, 4-H, through its various programs for kids aged 5-19, aims to develop young adults who exude positive citizenship, leadership, public speaking and community service qualities.
The fair itself featured horses, goats, dogs, sheep and myriad other animals. Following three-years at a farm in Slate Hill, CCE through a grant funded by Orange County Funding Corporation was able to secure ownership of the 54-acre property on 300 Finchville Turnpike in 2016, where the fair is now held.
New this year was a shack in the center of the grounds serving milkshakes and other refreshing sweet treats. The shack, named Jeremy’s Shake Shack (not the burger joint) was named after Jeremy Deblock who died tragically at age 22. His family, decided this was a way to carry on his name and legacy.
Gabby Miyoshi of Maybrook and her one-year old cow Sunny were among the winners in the various contests over the weekend, unfortunately, you’ll just have to take our word for it, as Sunny decided the winning ribbons made better chew toys than metals, so they were not available for photography.
"I’ve had Sunny since she was 4-weeks old,” Miyoshi said. “I’m really happy to have won the Reserve Master award, and Sunny the Reserve Jersey award.”
Christinia Zick, of Circleville, was kind enough to demonstrate some agility drills with her dog Annie, a three-year-old mixed breed. Annie happily, tail wagging scaled a slanted V-shaped board up and back down again even after a long-weekend of work.
“I’ve been training Annie for two-years,” Zick said. “We do everything from grooming, to agility which is her favorite and even do obedience training and general handling.”
Bailey Boyce, 10, of Pine Bush was seen happily perched on her 26-year old horse Mouse. “I clean Mouse, braid her hair and bathe her,” Boyce said.
Mouse is a full-time resident of Northwind Horse Farm in Wallkill.
Shaun Parker, also of Pine Bush was a volunteer who helped acquire the materials for and build the press box overlooking the pens in which the horses worked.
4-H, a national program for building social skills and overall youth development is run locally by the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) located at 18 Seward Ave in Middletown.