News Department

Morris County 4-H Fair specially designed for gamers; July 16-19

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Morris County’s 4-H teen community has declined to allow the annual county 4-H Fair to bite the dust this year due to COVID-19. While the annual event will not take place next week at its usual venue, Chubb Park in Chester Township, the sense of 4-H community is being recreated through an online gaming system.

“The Fair is a highlight event of the year for our members,” Morris County 4-H Program Associate Kelly Dziak said. “Many see the it as a sort-of family reunion where 4-Hers from all the clubs get together. Not having the event this year was a big blow to our 4-H community.”

Teen 4-H members Johanna Pipoli of Ledgewood and David Longendyck of Denville decided to battle back against the cancellation.

The duo decided to recreate the 4-H Fair’s sense of community through Minecraft, which is an open-world online game that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving. Longendyck contacted MCProHosting, which generously donated server space for the project.

The team then recruited adult volunteers and youth members, representing all Morris County 4-H project areas, to help build the virtual Morris County 4-H Fair. It will launch next week, on July 16, when the annual fair was scheduled to be held.

On June 8, the Minecraft 4-H STEP Club was launched, including more than 40 youth members and 10 adult volunteers. 4-H STEP clubs are short-term exploratory programs that focus on a specific project and meet for just a few weeks. The goal forthis  club was to have a unique Morris County 4-H Fair ready for the public viewing in time for the original opening date of the county 4-H Fair.

“I want everyone to enjoy the 4-H Fair, even if it is virtual,” Longendyck said.

Live events and tours will be scheduled for participants to enjoy on July 16-19. To connect to the special Minecraft version of the Morris County Fair, click here.

For those without Minecraft accounts, video tours led by the youth members will be available as pre-recorded or live events.

“This has been an amazing experience,” Morris County 4-H club leader Celia Longendyck said. “I get to see each member’s favorite part of the Fair plus their imaginative ideas of what the Fair could look like without the constraints of reality.”

“It’s all of the fun with none of the stress. In Minecraft, we control the weather and there are plenty of building materials,” 4-H parent and assistant club leader Britt Wagner said.

The Morris County 4-H team gives special thanks to MCProHosting for donating server space for the “county fair” and to the Morris County 4-H Association for supporting the Mionecraft venture. For updates and more information, visit the Morris County 4-H website.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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