Maine 4-H youth headed to Eastern States Exposition Sept. 14–30

Approximately 60 Maine 4-H youth ages 10–14 and the animals they train are expected to participate in this year’s Eastern States Exposition, or The Big E, in West Springfield, Massachusetts Sept. 14–30.

Also attending Sept. 22–24 are 10 youth ages 12 and older who are on the Maine 4-H Communication Science Team. Top finishers from the April Maine State 4-H Public Speaking Tournament held in Orono earned a spot on the Maine 4-H Communication Science Team.

The team will present demonstrations and illustrated talks, as well as group presentations and audience participation activities from the New England Center stage. An additional 32 4-H members will present science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and art activities in a demonstration area. These projects include wind power, Maine forest products, pollination and ice boat racing. Participants also will represent Maine in The Big E parade.

For other Maine 4-H members, a Sept. 15 “Maine Day” bus trip to The Big E is scheduled. This gives new 4-H clubs or members an idea of what to aspire to in Big E 4-H competitions.

At the expo, youth participate in competitions with other 4-H members from throughout New England. Those in animal husbandry demonstrate knowledge of their animals’ anatomy, physiology, nutrition and management by participating in quiz bowls, knowledge exams, judging contests and skill-a-thons. Communication Science Team members demonstrate STEM projects to show fairgoers the depth and breadth of Maine 4-H.

More than a million visitors attend The Big E annually.

In past years, Maine youth who have participated in the event have gone on to become youth leaders in their breed registries and to compete in national shows, such as the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky. They also come back to their clubs and share their skills, knowledge and abilities with younger 4-H youth.