Seeing 4-H exhibits at the Missouri State Fair each year is a given, but this year it will be something a little different for fair-goers.

Something special is happening at this year's Missouri State Fair at Mizzou Central in the MO-Ag Theater. Eighteen Missouri 4-H youths will sell original handmade items August 12-22.

4-H'ers across the state are encouraged to participate in the Show Me 4-H Wares program. Youths start and run their own business with skills learned through 4-H projects.

This year exhibitors will represent 11 Missouri counties and range in age from 10 to 18. According to Samantha Brandeberry, a University of Missouri Extension state 4-H educator:

“The products offered by each business showcase the diversity of 4-H projects and how they translate to tangible career paths in entrepreneurship.”

This year, the Show-Me 4-H Wares booth will showcase artwork, goat’s milk soap, crochet garments, jewelry, silk-screened T-shirts, dog treats, bath bombs, registered Simmental cattle semen and embryos, and hand-painted metal chairs.

Participating in the sales booth requires a lot of time and thought on the part of each youth. The exhibitors will have put hours of work into creating a business concept, preparing the product itself and designing promotional materials before they ever step foot on the fairgrounds.

The youth marketplace is for business-minded 4-Hers to gain confidence, apply public speaking and learn marketable skills while selling projects and earning their own money as entrepreneurs.

Brandeberry goes on to say:

Exhibitors expect to engage with fairgoers during their time at the booth. The opportunity to share their projects makes the hours of work feel more worthwhile.

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