Before the rides are ready to be ridden, before the sheep are ready to be shown, before the cheese curds are ready to be crunched, young 4-Hers present their projects at the East Otter Tail County Fair.

Rides and food stands are being set up for the days of excitement from July 22-25.

But on Tuesday, July 20, there was judging for non-livestock projects, with 4-H kids of all ages presenting their projects.

On Tuesday, July 20, workers set up the rides for the East Otter Tail County Fair. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)
On Tuesday, July 20, workers set up the rides for the East Otter Tail County Fair. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

Cloverbuds, kids in kindergarten through second grade, weren't judged in a competition format. Kids in third grade and up could be awarded three different prizes:

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  • White: Needs more work
  • Red: Needs a little more work
  • Blue: Excellent work

From there, all the projects with the Blue Award are judged to decide on the ultimate champion.

One young 4-H member, 11-year-old Hazel Duikhoff, received a Blue Award for her project. Duikhoff enjoys playing dolls with her cousins, so she wanted a grocery store and a restaurant to play in with their dolls.

Her family had extra wood around the house because they had recently remodeled their home. Because of this, alongside her dad, Duikhoff was able to build a grocery store and Subway for her dolls using nails, wood, tape, cardboard, printed paper, plastic, toilet paper and some items bought from the store.

The grocery store and the Subway took about a day each to build. The food in the Subway, such as mini sandwiches and chips, took the longest for her to complete.

Hazel Duikhoff, 11, shows off the grocery store and Subway she made for her dolls on Tuesday, July 20. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)
Hazel Duikhoff, 11, shows off the grocery store and Subway she made for her dolls on Tuesday, July 20. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

Duikhoff entered her project into the competition because her mother suggested it. "Mom was like, 'you'll win if you enter it in the fair,'" she smiled. "I was like, 'It's so big. How are we going to get it there?'" But Duikhoff was able to fit her project in the car after taking it all down.

She had a lot of fun making it, and she said it's been pretty fun to play with so far, too.

Another 11-year-old, Lucey Minten, made a fairy garden to enter into the competition. She'd made a few fairy gardens for the fair in the past couple of years because she likes succulents.

11-year-old Lucey Minten made a fairy garden for the East Otter Tail County Fair. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)
11-year-old Lucey Minten made a fairy garden for the East Otter Tail County Fair. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

Over her years of making fairy gardens for the East Otter Tail County Fair, she's learned how to take care of these succulents. She comes up with her ideas on her own, gathering items from a flea market and a succulent shop. The rocks were collected from her driveway as well as all the way from South Dakota.

Another entrant, 14-year-old Calvin Berry, saw string art of an American flag online, which sparked his inspiration.

Calvin Berry, 14, shows off the American flag he made out of string art. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)
Calvin Berry, 14, shows off the American flag he made out of string art. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

In order to make the flag, Berry cut and stained a wooden board, then pounded some nails into a pattern. From there, he strung the colors into the pattern of the flag. He'd entered this competition in the past, and he specifically made the flag to enter into the fair. He's proud of how it turned out.

All of these projects and more are on display at the EOT Fairgrounds.

The 2021 East Otter Tail County Fair will take place from July 22-25. During-the-fair prices are seven tickets for $20, one ticket for $3 and a family pack of 20 tickets for $50. Armbands will be $20. For the full schedule of events, visit eotcountyfair.org/lineup.