CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The annual Cape May County 4-H Fair is one of New Jersey's oldest fairs, and is planned July 20-22 at the 4-H fairgrounds, at 355 Court House-South Dennis Road in Cape May Court House.

Admission to the fair is free for visitors to enjoy activities, exhibits and entertainment. Hours for the family friendly event are noon to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.

New additions to this year's fair include a series of “tent talks,” short, hands-on lectures that connect the public to local experts in a variety of backyard agricultural topics such as Three Sisters Native American gardening, backyard chicken husbandry, medicinal herbs, worm composting, bee keeping and beach plum growing.

The talks are aimed at those interested in starting a backyard hobby and are scheduled next to Irma's Herb Garden and the Children's Discovery Farm. A schedule of the talks is available at cmc4h.com, or call 609-465-5115, ext. 3605.

A patriotic American flag retirement ceremony will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday at the Carol and Ralph Porch 4-H fair stage. Local veterans' groups and dignitaries will lead a public ceremony to retire American flags properly.

The Children's Discovery Farm has added baby goats, alpacas, horse shoeing demonstrations and a Three Sisters teepee to its lineup of activities designed for the youngest fair visitors, along with antique pedal tractors and regular life on the farm fun. The first 300 visitors under eight years old will receive a commemorative Life on the Farm book to insert photos of themselves busy on the farm.

One of the fair favorites features the return of a chainsaw carver all three days, with exhibitions of carving skill and auctions of his work. The antique and classic car show will be held on Saturday. Horse and livestock shows, an expanded Maker Space, farmers' market, bouncy houses, 4-H project exhibits, food vendors and live local entertainment are just some of the activities organizers said will round out a family experience.

The chicken barbecue begins at 5 p.m. each day with flounder added on Friday and Saturday nights. Get tickets beginning at 4 p.m. each day, and enjoy a dinner in the shade while listening to live entertainment on the fairgrounds' Carol and Ralph Porch 4-H main stage.

Plan to get drenched with color at the third annual 4-H Color 1 mile or 5k Fun Run on Saturday, July 22 at the fairgrounds. Registration starts at 8 a.m. at the beginning of Betty Jean Lane with the race beginning at 8:30 a.m. The first 100 people to register will get a color run medal.

Kids can win a year's supply of pet food at the children's pet show, sponsored by Smeltzer & Sons Feed & Pet Supplies on Saturday at 10 a.m. on the main stage. Participants do not need to be a 4-H member to take part.

Children are invited to bring their favorite dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, rodents and other unusual pets for a variety of classes, including costumes and pet-owner look-a-like contests. Ribbons will be awarded in all classes.

Best in show trophies will be awarded in each division, and the grand prize is a year's supply of pet food from Smeltzer & Sons. The entry fee is $1 per class.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. Current rabies vaccination certificates or tags are required for all dogs.

Free parking is available at the Cape May County Technical High School with free shuttle bus service to the fairgrounds starting at noon on Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday. Buses are air-conditioned and handicapped accessible. Watch for directions to parking at Exit 11 east off the Garden State Parkway.

Parking is available at the Atlantic Cape Community College campus, next to the fairgrounds, for a $5.

Volunteers are always needed to assist at the 4-H Fair. Call 609-465-5115 ext. 3605 for more information.

Learn more about the Cape May County 4-H Youth Development Program and the 4-H Fair at the 4-H Foundation website cmc4h.com

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Middle Township Gazette reporter. Call me anytime you have news for the paper or the website. 609-365-6176