Hayden It's the first sign of the Routt County Fair 4-H Exhibit Day and it will be Saturday at the fairgrounds in Hayden.
"This is a really big day," Colorado State University Extension agent Deb Alpe said. "Kids bring in their projects clothing, leather work, cake making, rockets; tons of different things."
This year, the Routt County Fair is Aug. 19-27.
4-H members, from age 8 to 18, will enter their projects in the fair at Exhibit Day. The projects that are judged champions qualify to compete in the state fair, to be held in Pueblo, Aug. 19-Sept. 4.
4-Hers are entering 165 projects in this year's fair.
"We usually send about 50 kids to the state fair," Alpe said.
4-H members will take turns interviewing with judges, who are all selected from outside of Routt County, including Rio Blanco, Moffat and Garfield counties. The judges are looking for effort, lessons learned, challenges faced, successes and how the 4-H'ers plan to proceed with their projects, Alpe said.
Norma Carver, a Meeker resident, has been a cake-decorating judge for several years.
"4-H has always had a certain set of standards," Carver said. "The better the kids follow these standards, the better they do. The more mature they are in their project areas, the better they do."
Some of the standards used, specific to each project category, have been created to make an otherwise subjective judging process a bit more objective, Carver explained.
"For example, in cake-decorating, first-year entries can't use any cake-tips. After their first year, they have to make decorations with certain kinds of tips. Always, their frosting has to be made well. We like to see photographs of practice cakes made."
Additional judging is made on effort, quality and creativity all of which can be difficult to gauge.
Carver said sometimes it's obvious which project entry will be the winner, and other times it's harder to choose.
"It can really be a struggle," she said. "You just have to keep going back and eliminating entries until you find the best one."
Like Carver, most of the judges were in 4-H clubs themselves.
"I've done cake-decorating for several years," Carver said. "It's a been there, done that sort of thing. So I know what to look for."
More than 200 exhibits will be available for all to see on Saturday at Hayden High School. An awards ceremony will begin at around 7 p.m.