|Winnebago County Fair Fair gives 4-H members a chance to showcase their hard work|
|Written by Dennis HInes/Stateline News|
|Monday, 15 August 2011 13:52|
Peter Dal Santo, left, and Patrick Sayles move Dal Santo’s woodworking project into the display area at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds in Pecatonica. The fair gets under way Tuesday.
PECATONICA — Peter Dal Santo has been creating woodworking projects for the Winnebago County Fair since he was 7 years old. So it’s no surprise he’s back at it again this year.
(Read the story in the e-edition of the Stateline News HERE)
Dal Santo, 17, of South Beloit will be displaying his woodworking project — two chairs with a small table in the middle. Dal Santo said it took him about a month to complete his entry for the fair, which will be held Aug. 16-21 at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds in Pecatonica.
Over the years he’s made a cutting board, birdhouse, shelf and more.
“It’s kind of getting hard now, because this (project) has been the hardest one to make, so far,” Dal Santo said. “I don’t know if I will be able to top this.”
Dal Santo said he has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. He said his grandfather helped him become interested in the hobby.
“He used to have a basement full of woodworking tools, and ever since then, helping him, I have always wanted to work with wood and build stuff,” Dal Santo said.
Besides his woodworking project, Dal Santo also will be showing four pigs at the fair. Dal Santo has been showing pigs since he was 10 years old.
“Ever since they’ve been about 5 months old, we’ve been walking them around, then we weigh them every third day to track their weight to make sure they’re not too big or too small for weigh in,” Dal Santo said. “If they’re too big, then we will start hand feeding them. If not, then we will put them on a self feeder where they have the option to eat or not eat whenever they want.”
Dal Santo said he and his family mostly raise pigs for production.
“Our pigs aren’t really meant for showing. The other people that bring (pigs), they are meant for showing,” Dal Santo said. “They are much better looking. Ours are a much leaner pig. They are much more for eating than showing. So we normally get white and red ribbons on these.”
Dal Santo said he enjoys participating in the Winnebago County Fair and interacting with other 4-H members.
“It’s nice to get away from everything,” Dal Santo said. “You can do whatever you want. Most of the time, I sit in the barn or go watch the tractor pulls. It’s nice to meet new people when you’re showing, too. When you’re showing with everyone else around the Winnebago County 4-H, you meet new friends and new people.”
Dal Santo has been a member of the University of Illinois Extension Winnebago County 4-H Club for about 10 years.
“It’s a great club to be in,” Dal Santo said. “It shows you a lot of responsibility. There’s a lot of community service to do. It teaches you to be a better person around people. You meet new people at the fair every year and from volunteering at different places.”
Eye on photography
Hononegah High School student, Patrick Sayles, 18, of Rockford, will be displaying his photography project at the fair. Sayles’ project is a still-life photograph of chemistry equipment. He said he was inspired to take the photo based on his brother’s wedding.
“My brother got married recently, and he’s a chemical engineer, and his wife is a chemistry major. So they had a chemistry theme at their wedding,” Sayles said. “So (the chemistry equipment) was a part of their center piece.”
Sayles has submitted a photography project for the fair during the past three years.
“Every year, I try to find something to take a picture of...,” Sayles said. “I try to mix it up every year and find something different. One of the hardest parts of a photography project is finding what to take a photo of.”
Sayles also will be displaying two cooking projects at the fair, microwave apple brownies and a sponge cake. Sayles said his brother often submitted a photography project and a cooking project for the fair when he was a 4-H member.
“My brother was in 4-H before me, and he had always done photography projects and food projects,” Sayles said. “The food project is because my mom is a cooking teacher at a high school, so she’s always pushed me into taking some type of cooking class. She’s kind of the reason why I got into a lot of these projects and into 4-H in general.”
Sayles has been a member of 4-H for about 11 years. He said being involved with the organization has taught him valuable skills.
“When you volunteer with 4-H’ers, you get to know them,” Sayles said. “You get leadership responsibilities if you want. You can become as active as you want to ... I recommend that people look into joining 4-H.”
Stacy Cwiklo, program coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension Winnebago County 4-H, said the 4-H members begin working on their projects in the fall and select which ones they want to feature at the fair the following spring. She said about 900 4-H projects will be displayed at this year’s fair.
Cwiklo said the projects are judged several weeks before the fair. She said the judges look for certain criteria for each project.
“There’s certain guidelines for certain projects, so the judges have those guidelines to judge that project on,” Cwiklo said. “The kids aren’t judged against each other. They’re judged against the criteria in the project book.”
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 09:56|