Mention 4-H in casual conversation and there is a good chance that the listener will associate the organization with livestock and horticulture.

There is no denying that the Tazewell County 4-H Show and Junior Fair would not disappoint someone expecting to see horses, pigs, sheep, goats, poultry and rabbits. A large section of Mineral Springs Park has been given over to livestock exhibits and displays of produce grown by members of one of Tazewell County’s 22 4-H clubs.

Everson Hohulin, 9, of Minier is participating in his first fair and displayed his miniature horse, Wendy, in Monday’s horse and pony show.

“We just got Wendy last year, and we decided we wanted to show her in the fair,” he said. “I’ve always liked horses.”

David Lott of Tremont, this year’s Fair Veterinarian, began practice in 1964. He is no longer practicing but inspects health certificates and animals for the fair because of his longstanding appreciation for 4-H programs.

“I enjoy seeing young people growing up in agriculture,” said Lott. “My children were all in 4-H and showed at these fairs, too.”

Area residents wanting to see displays related to something other than agriculture need only walk into the Cultural Arts Center for exhibits of visual arts, mechanical sciences, computer sciences, and textiles and clothing. It is in this building that Todd Smith, 15, of Hopedale displays his projects in Glass and Plastic Original Art and Computer-Generated Art. This is the fifth year Smith has participated in the Tazewell County 4-H Show and Junior Fair, but he does not always submit projects in the same category.

“I’ve been in Woodworking, I’ve been in Electricity, and I’ve been in several different Visual Arts,” said Smith. “I’ve qualified to have my projects shown at the (Illinois) State Fair several times. I keep coming back because I enjoy making different projects.”

Toni Thomas of Pekin is a regular attendee at the show. Each year, she has friends and family members involved with 4-H projects. Unfortunately, she will miss a favorite event this year.

“My best friend has children who are in 4-H and friends from my church have kids who are in 4-H, so I’ve been coming here for at least 10 years. I just like to walk around. I always enjoy the tractor pull and the no-bake contest,” she said. “I have to miss the no-bake this year because I forgot about the fair being this week and made other plans.”  

Sydney Webb, 15, of Marquette Heights has been coming to Tazewell County’s 4-H fair with her family for five years. Her favorite aspect of the show is looking at the projects in the Cultural Arts Center.

“My favorites are the Clothing and Textile projects, the Electricity and the Woodworking,” she said. “My favorite project this year was a table someone had built that had wheels on it.”

The Tazewell County 4-H Show began Monday and will continue through Wednesday. The grounds are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.