Compiled by Rick Myers
County and state fair participation is in Dawn West’s blood. After years of participation in her youth, West remains active in the 4-H program, where she was a 10-year member. She’s a 4-H leader and a member of the Hendricks County Fair Board, where she is the co-chairman of the queen contest. She was inducted into the International Association of Fairs and Expositions Hall of Fame in 2015 for her work in the 4-H program and her community.
West and her husband Paul live in her great grandparent’s farm house in Clayton, which they have spent long hours remodeling. She works as an administrative assistant for Whitewater Valley Presbytery in Indianapolis and a Mary Kay Beauty consultant. In her spare time she loves to travel and spend time with her nieces and friends.
With the 2019 Hendricks County 4-H Fair days away, we asked her 10 questions:
- How long have you been involved in the Hendricks County 4-H Fair? Since I was 10 years old. I was a 10-year member and have been a 4-H leader for 40 years, and I have set on the fair board for 28 years.
- You seem to have your hand in many aspects of the fair. What do you enjoy doing the most? I love the queen contest. You get to see young girls become beautiful young ladies.
- What does the fair mean to you? Everything. It is my summer. It has given me so much, not only as a 4-H member but as an adult. It has made me what I am today.
- What is the best memory you have of the fair? I have so many memories of the fair, but I will have to say the year I won champion on my sewing project in open class. I had worked so long to achieve that and then went to the state fair and won my division there.
- Why should someone who has never been, go to the fair? It is a great place to learn with your children, a place for entertainment, a place to see what young people can do and of course a great place for food.
- 4-H is a great youth development organization. Why should parents want their children involved? 4-H teaches children so many life skills, responsibility, leadership, self-confidence and how to win and how to lose. I always tell people I learned more the years I lost than I did the years I won. And that is what we need to be teaching our children.
- Is there a misnomer about 4-H that it is only for kids who live in agricultural families? You really need to come to the fair and see what it is all about. It is not all cows and cooking anymore. We offer so many other projects. Of course the agriculture is important, but you can do just about anything and exhibit at the fair.
- If you could only experience one attraction at the fair, what would it be and why? The auditorium. That is where you will find more projects than just agriculture, and you will see how talented some of the children are. They are amazing. We only hear about the kids that are doing bad things. This is where you see kids doing great things. And you can also see what the adults do as well when you visit the homemakers area that is in the auditorium.
- What does the fair symbolize to you? A showcase of young and old, that come together to put on a fair for the community! It takes everyone of all ages to do this. That is what makes it so great.
- Okay, open mic, anything on your mind? If you have not been to the fair, I ask you (to) make a point to try it this year. I don’t think you will be disappointed. We have a state fair experience at a county fair price, and it is right in your backyard. Come and see what Hendricks County youth are doing. You just might learn something along the way. See you at the Hendricks County Fair.