This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Washington County Youth Fair where local students, 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) members showcase talents and livestock projects.

UF/IFAS Extension Washington County Extension Director Julie Pigott Dillard says the youth fair is unique in nature.

“The youth fair holds a special place for me personally because I remember participating when I was a little girl,†Dillard said. “The best part which makes it unique is the event is open to all students, not just those in 4-H or FFA. Students from all over the county have a place to showcase their talents in the general exhibition.â€

General exhibit entries are open to all students ages 5-18 who live in or attend school in Washington County, or those who are Washington County 4-H members. Categories for general exhibition include: art, crafts, photography, posters, models, needlework and sewing, baked goods, baked goods decorating, canned goods, and horticulture. 4-H members only categories include: poultry, rabbits, poultry showmanship, rabbit showmanship, eggs, graphic design, tri-fold displays, and 4-H posters.

Dillard says teachers from county schools work on projects with their students to enter into the fair.

“Many of our general exhibition entries come from classrooms where teachers work with their students on a project,†Dillard said. “The Chipley Garden Club hosts gardening adventures at Kate M. Smith Elementary students where they make floral arrangements and dish gardens to enter at the fair.â€

Exhibitors earn ribbons and cash prizes for their entries. The cash prizes are made possible by local businesses and individuals who sponsor by generous donations.

The Washington County Youth Fair will be held and open to the public on March 3 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and March 4 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Washington County Ag Center.

Fair booklets with rules and entry forms are available at local schools and from UF/IFAS Extension Washington County. They can also be accessed from

Pre-registration entry forms are required and due Feb. 1 to the UF/IFAS Extension Washington County office located in the Ag Center. For more information or questions, contact Julie Pigott Dillard at 850-638-6180 or [email protected].