Rock County Fair to kick off

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  • Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Kenny Ballmer, a 2018 graduate of Clinton High School, is preparing for a very big year at the Rock County 4-H Fair. The longtime La Prairie 4-H Club member has over 50 entries for his final year of competition. The Rock County 4-H Fair runs Tuesday through Sunday in Janesville.

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    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Baseballs have been given a new decorative purpose as part of one of Kenny Ballmer's 4-H Projects for the Rock County 4-H Fair, running Tuesday morning through Sunday evening in Janesville.

  • 2

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News La Prairie 4-H member Kenny Ballmer has more than 50 entries for this year's 4-H Fair, including this barn quilt. The fair will be taking place Tuesday morning through Sunday evening in Janesville.

  • 3

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Kenny Ballmer, a 2018 graduate of Clinton High School, is preparing for a very big year at the Rock County 4-H Fair. The longtime La Prairie 4-H Club member has over 50 entries for his final year of competition, including this 4-foot by 4-foot barn quilt that has taken over six weeks to complete.

  • Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Kenny Ballmer, a 2018 graduate of Clinton High School, is preparing for a very big year at the Rock County 4-H Fair. The longtime La Prairie 4-H Club member has over 50 entries for his final year of competition. The Rock County 4-H Fair runs Tuesday through Sunday in Janesville.

  • 1

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Baseballs have been given a new decorative purpose as part of one of Kenny Ballmer's 4-H Projects for the Rock County 4-H Fair, running Tuesday morning through Sunday evening in Janesville.

  • 2

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News La Prairie 4-H member Kenny Ballmer has more than 50 entries for this year's 4-H Fair, including this barn quilt. The fair will be taking place Tuesday morning through Sunday evening in Janesville.

  • 3

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Kenny Ballmer, a 2018 graduate of Clinton High School, is preparing for a very big year at the Rock County 4-H Fair. The longtime La Prairie 4-H Club member has over 50 entries for his final year of competition, including this 4-foot by 4-foot barn quilt that has taken over six weeks to complete.

JANESVILLE - From building birdhouses to learning how to dehydrate food, grow crops and even raise swine and cattle.

That's the impressive resume of La Prairie 4-H Club member Kenny Ballmer, 19, who has more than 50 entries ready for the Rock County 4-H fair.

A tri-sport athlete and 2018 graduate of Clinton High School, Ballmer said he's learned all sorts of skills from being a 4-H member for so many years.

"I was in first grade when I started with Cloverbuds," he said. "Every generation in my family has done 4-H, and it's something I've always enjoyed."

The Rock County 4-H Fair begins Tuesday morning and runs through Sunday evening at the fairgrounds, 1301 Craig Ave., Janesville.

Local kids will be hoping for blue ribbons on their projects and will showcase their animals. Concerts, tasty food and a carnival also await.

"This will be my first year in a really long time that I'm not showing animals, so I've been working on a lot of other projects," Ballmer said of his entries.

This year's 4-H Fair is the final chance for Ballmer, now a student at UW-Platteville studying agricultural education and technical education, to compete.

He's spent the last three months working on barn quilts to sell and gift to others post-fair, made a patchwork pillow, a barn wood sign, shelves and much more.

Ballmer also has been growing crops at the family farm and has been in the garden cultivating squash and beans. Inside, he's baking cookies and making pie filling.

As part of the maintenance crew at the fairgrounds, Ballmer said he's planning to be on site from 4:45 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day this week.

The days are long, but he doesn't mind at all. The fair has been a huge part of his life.

"I hope other kids will see that 4-H offers a lot of opportunities and it's a great way to network and have fun experiences," he said.

Daily tickets to this year's fair are $10 for adults and $5 for ages 5-17. Weekly passes and specials also are available.

For more information and a full fair lineup, visit www.rockcounty4hfair.com or 'Like' the event's Facebook page.

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