The Del Norte County 4-H column runs monthly. Today's installment was submitted by Christine Jones and Valerie Machado.

It's a busy time of year for Del Norte 4-H'ers. Most are busy getting their animal- and non-animal projects ready for the Del Norte County Fair. There are also other activities going on during the summer.

4-H'ers have been busy at the Saturday Farmers Market. Members have helped youth in the community plant beans and pumpkins. They also helped Rural Human Services make a video on recycling. Members have also been cleaning up and planting flowers at the fairgrounds.

Members from the Pine Grove and Wild River 4-H Clubs worked hard on making decorations and banners for our annual Fourth of July Parade entry. Many 4-H members walked in the parade, some carrying flags and others walking their animals.

Other 4-H'ers rode on the float. Some handed out young redwood trees to parade spectators. This year's parade entry won first place in the non-profit float division, and was also the grand champion parade entry.

Following the parade, many of our 4-H'ers headed down to Beachfront Park to help with the 4-H petting zoo, which was very well attended.

Giddy Up 'N' Goat and Wild River 4-H club members also attended the 52nd Orick Rodeo, where they set up their annual petting zoo. Several 4-H members and one leader also participated in the quad barrels. On the same weekend, four Pine Grove 4-H members participated in the Gasquet Raft Races.

The thought on most 4-H members' minds, however, is the Del Norte County fair. In its 120th year, the fair is to many of our youth the culmination of months of dedication to their project.

Now, only two weeks away,4-H'ers are shearing animals, clipping errant strings from craft projects and perfecting recipes to get ready to show their best to their community. It isn't uncommon in our county to see 4-H members running from the Main Hall where they have been checking ribbons for cake decorating, to the Ace Building to get ready to show a dairy cow.

Speaking of dairy cows, this year's fair will have a special show! Starting in June, Sunrise 4-H and Alexandre Dairy have been hosting the Bucket Calf project for 4-H members.

Children are each allowed to pick out a calf, born in March. The children and the calves learn together, from walking on a halter, to standing correctly, and finally how to show as a team.

About 40 children have been participating in weekly meetings, and most have been to the dairy almost daily to work with their young heifer. Along with working with the calves, the 4-H kids get an inside look at life on the dairy, following the cow's journey from birth, to feeding, to milking. It is an experience that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Check out the fair schedule and plan on attending! Stop to gaze at a photographer's picture, smell the yeasty aroma of a baker's bread, or visit a barn to talk to a 4-H'er about his or her animal.

Our youths have worked hard on their projects and it shows. To all Del Norte 4-H'ers: Congratulations. We are all proud of you!

Don't forget the Junior Livestock Auction is Sunday, Aug. 4. The buyers' luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m., followed by the auction at 1 p.m.There will be both large and small animals in the auction.If you would like to attend, but don't have an invitation, contact the fairgrounds.

To get involved with4-H, call 464-4711. Like us on Facebook: Del Norte 4-H.