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4-H carnival to celebrate 61 years with games, food

February 21, 2020 | Local News
Courtesy photo – Visitors to the 60th annual Larimer County 4-H Carnival & Craft Show last year play some of the games operated by county 4-H clubs.

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

Do you wish you could go to the carnival, but then notice that it’s winter? Larimer County 4-H has a solution: an indoor carnival and craft show with lots of carnival food, crafts and games.

The 61st annual Larimer County 4-H Carnival & Craft Show March 7 will present carnival games at booths operated by 4-H clubs, two live auctions, craft and artisan booths, a bake sale and carnival food from cotton candy to popcorn to nachos. There is no fee to enter, but there is a cost to play the games and purchase the items for sale.

“It’s just the whole atmosphere of carnival games. It’s fun,” said Cindy Buckardt, president of the Larimer County 4-H Foundation, which organizes 4-H programs and activities in the county and supports the club’s 1,200 members.

The carnival and craft show will be held in the First National Bank Building at The Ranch Complex with booths of carnival games in the south hall and vendor and 4-H Club booths in the north hall. Doors will open at 10 a.m. and the event will continue until 5 p.m., followed by a dance at 6 p.m. sponsored by the Larimer County 4-H Exchange Club in the Thomas M. McKee Building.

Larimer County 4-H clubs will operate more than 40 booths, about the same number as last year. They will collect tickets, which will sell for 25 cents at the sales tables—most games will take two to four tickets.

The clubs will run one or more games—about 35 clubs of the 50 in the county are expected to participate.

“Our club is a very large club, so we will run four or five games,” Buckardt said about the High Country Handiworkers 4-H Club in Loveland.

The games will include a few favorites, such as skee ball, rubber band shooting, ball tosses, miniature golf and iron man gong. There also will be a cakewalk and a money machine but without the real thing.

“Every club has to give out a prize, whether they win or lose,” Buckardt said, explaining that the prize can be as small as a Tootsie Roll. “It was something that was put into place many, many years ago. … Every kid walks away with something.”

The larger prizes will include things like toys, stuffed bears, candy, soda pop and goldfish.

Club members will collect the tickets and operate the games, plus sell tickets prior to the event for $1 for drawings throughout the day (they each are expected to sell at least 25). The prizes will include cash, where winners do not have to be present, and gift cards, given to those who are present.

Clubs also can opt to provide gift baskets for the auctions, added to the event several years ago to bring in additional funds for the clubs and the 4-H Foundation. The auctions will be at noon and 2 p.m.

“Most clubs will put a basket in even if they can’t do a booth,” Buckardt said. “They’re very elaborate baskets. The clubs do a fantastic job putting them together.”

Buckardt estimates there will be about 75 baskets this year, as well as donated items and gift cards from local businesses.

In the craft and vendor booth area, artisans and crafters will sell paintings, pottery, woodworking and other items, plus a few authors will be selling their books. CSU Larimer County Extension also will have a booth to present information about the different 4-H clubs.

“It’s a last-minute opportunity to look at the clubs if they want to join. The enrollment deadline is March 15 in order to participate in this year’s county fair,” Buckardt said.

Proceeds from the event will be split between the 4-H clubs and the 4-H Foundation. The foundation’s goal is to raise $70,000 this year. The foundation took in $50,000 last year and gave out $16,000 to the 4-H clubs.

“We are looking for more as we have increased our scholarship amounts back to youth and (for) purchasing new equipment for the youth for their programs,” Buckardt said.

The foundation uses the money to support 4-H programming and activities, leadership events, travel expenses, camp attendance, and member and leader recognition awards.

“There are not too many events that can say they have been around for 61 years,” Buckardt said, adding that the event is significant for “the number of youth that we support with only one fundraiser.” “It’s a worthwhile cause to come out and support your local kids and the 4-H program.”

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