Why do you go to the Grays Harbor County Fair? For me, county fairs mean animals! I love looking at all the different breeds. Even better is speaking to the 4-H and FFA kids who have lovingly cared for and trained these animals all year to be ready for the County Fair. It’s the pinnacle part of any 4-Hers summer. And Alex Kallgren is definitely no exception.

It was no surprise that Alex ended up in 4-H. His mother, Tammy Kallgren, was in 4-H herself and founded the Brady Bunch 4-H club in 2007 in Grays Harbor. “His older brother showed poultry for 11 years,” she shares. “It just seemed inevitable Alex would join too once he was old enough.”

Children over 5 can be a part of 4-H. Alex, who is now 9 years old and starting fourth grade in the fall, is in his second year with his mother’s club. The biggest question, was what would his project be? “We moved from the countryside into town and could no longer own chickens,” says Alex. “Our club specializes in rabbits, cavies, and chickens so I chose a rabbit. I always loved gardening and growing stuff.”

Lessons Learned Grays Harbor County 4-H

Alex feeding his rabbit at the Grays Harbor County Fair
Grays Harbor County 4-H kids put in a lot of hours of hard work taking care of their animal projects. Photo courtesy: Tammy Kallgren

Alex’s project rabbit for this year is a Dutch rabbit named Loki. Dutches are recognizable for their black-and-white Oreo patterned coat. However, they can come in other colors, including chinchilla (gray), chocolate, steel, gray and tortoise. They can also have a variety of different marking patterns. They are small, usually around 3.5-5.5 pounds. They have nice dispositions and make a good first rabbit.

Along with Loki, Alex is also doing a gardening project for the Grays Harbor County Fair this year. Gardening projects involve learning how to plan, plant, grow and maintain flowers or food. The 4-Hers are then judged on their resulting harvest. Alex is growing raspberries, peas and tomatoes and hopes to submit for judging if they are ready. “Hasn’t been the hottest summer,” he shares, saying they may not be ripe in time.

4-H teaches kids a lot of life skills as well as helping them understand responsibility and respect for another being. It really helps with confidence, especially for those kids that choose to do a public speaking project. Alex’s this year is “10 Facts From World War II.” “I come from a long line of military veterans and my great grandpa fought in this war,” Alex says on his reason for choosing this topic.

Alex standing next to his tomato plant
Alex also will have produce for judging at the Grays Harbor County Fair, if they ripen in time! Photo courtesy: Tammy Kallgren

Alex says 4-H has taught him about helping others, independence, how to talk to groups of people, rabbit care and most, of all, how to have fun. This will be his second Grays Harbor County Fair and he can’t wait. “I am looking forward to the rides, elephant ears and showing people my rabbit,” he shares.

To learn more about 4-H, visit the Washington State University Extension website. Visit the Grays Harbor County Fair happening August 10-13 at the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds in Elma and look for Alex and his projects. Stop and talk to the kids. They’ve worked hard on their projects and love telling people about them. You just may learn something new and discover a new hobby for yourself!

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