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Posted Thursday, July 9th, 2020

Join the Fair When it Goes Live Via “Minecraft”

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 at its usual venue, Chubb  Park in Chester Township, next week, the sense of 4-H community is being recreated through an online gaming system.

Live events and tours will be scheduled for participants to enjoy beginning Thursday and running through Sunday.

Morris County 4-H Fair Specially Designed for Gamers -- Thursday through Sunday

4-H virtual fair build team manager David Longendyck overseeing a build session.

“The Fair is a highlight event of the year for our members,” said Kelly Dziak, Morris County 4-H Program Associate. “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.

Morris County 4-H Fair Specially Designed for Gamers -- Thursday through Sunday

Morris County 4-H Virtual Fair is under construction.

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,” said Longendyck.

To connect to the special Minecraft version of the Morris County Fair, visit https://morris.njaes.rutgers.edu/4h/fair/

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

Morris County 4-H Fair Specially Designed for Gamers -- Thursday through Sunday

Holt Englander works on the game on his computer

“This has been an amazing experience,” said Morris County 4-H club leader, Celia Longendyck. “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.”

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

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 at https://morris.njaes.rutgers.edu/4h/fair/.

Morris County 4-H Fair Specially Designed for Gamers -- Thursday through Sunday