MOUNT VERNON — Sunday, the Knox County Farmer’s Bureau will hold a 4-H & Friends Fun Day at what will be the new 4-H Center, located at 601 Fairgrounds Road, including several fun-filled activities like a silent and live auction, a ground-breaking ceremony for the new center and a visit from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
The event begins at 3 p.m. will feature several 4-H members who will have displays showing the various projects they are working on, as well as providing information about 4-H. There will also be a silent auction throughout the afternoon, with a live auction beginning at 5 p.m. The auctions will contain various items donated by several businesses and organizations throughout Knox County, including: the Knox County Chamber of Commerce, the Knox County Farm Bureau, the Knox County Cattlemen’s Association and the Mount Vernon Animal Hospital.
From 3-5 p.m. there will be multiple speakers, mostly consisting of those who have some connection to the center or those who have contributed donations to the center. The speakers will discuss the importance of the new 4-H Center for Knox County and why they support the project, explained Kayla Jones, organization director for the Ohio Farmers’ Bureau.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will also be in attendance from 3-5 p.m. with animals for visitors to see and learn about, volunteering their services for free to provide entertainment and education to those attending the event, said Jones.
The ground-breaking ceremony will be happening around 5 p.m., before the start of the live auction, said Mark Bennett, chair of the building committee. Three of the building’s major donors — consisting of Mark Ramser, Ariel Foundation and the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County — will be participating in the ground-breaking ceremony. Their names and the date will then be engraved on the shovels they use, and those shovels will be up for bid during the live auction.
The reason this fundraising event, and this new building, is important because it will provide a larger space for children involved in 4-H in the county to have meetings and events, explained Bennett.
He added that over the years, they have outgrown their current 4-H center as more children have joined 4-H, and they hold around 400-450 meetings a year with 4-H clubs to provide training and education. The new building would provide approximately three times the space the current one has, as well as far more parking.
The fact that the center will sit on the Knox County Natural Resources Area, which sits just above the fairgrounds, will also increase what they will be able to do in terms of outdoors education with the children, added Bennett.
For the building, their overall fundraising goal is $750,000, “which will pay for construction of the building as well as create a trust fund for future maintenance, utilities and insurance,” reads the Fun Day flyer provided to the News by Larry Hall, 4-H Extension Educator through the Knox County OSU Extension office. Bennett estimates they have reached “just shy” of 70 percent of their goal, with some of that consisting of in-kind donations in the form of building materials.
Admission to the event by donation.
“This has been a community effort,” said Jones about the organization of the Fun Day. And this is a sentiment Hall shared, saying, “It’s a lot of different entities coming together” to create an event like this to support the future and continued education of those in 4-H.