TONGANOXIE – The annual Leavenworth County Fair features carnival rides and games, a parade, a rodeo, live music and numerous food and commercial vendors.

But for nearly 400 members of 4-H organizations in Leavenworth County, it’s the Super Bowl of competitions.

Months and months of preparation comes down to a wide range of judged contests this week in approximately 50 project areas, to include such things as livestock contests, food preparation contests and arts and crafts contests.

But Sonya Murphy, 4-H youth development agent with K-State Research and Extension – Leavenworth County, said 4-H “is more than just the animals.”

“It’s more about teaching life skills, about being responsible, about competing and taking criticism,” she said. “In 4-H, the kids learn to listen and talk to people and grow. 4-H helps young people gain skills needed to be proactive forces in their community.”

According to www.4-H.org, “Since 4-H began more than 100 years ago, it has become the nation’s largest youth development organization.”

Leavenworth County 4-H organizations have participated in the county fair for as long as the event has been held. This year marks the 92nd edition of the mid-summer event.

4-H organizations are comprised of children 7-18 years old. There are more than 400 members enrolled in the Leavenworth County 4-H organizations.

Murphy said there are nine traditional county 4-H clubs and several special project clubs.

“I like the fair because I can exhibit my arts and crafts and get feedback from the judges,” said Maya Pebley, a member of the Basehor Rustlers 4-H. “It helps me get involved in the community. I’ve learned social skills and improved my public speaking.”

Murphy said the Leavenworth County 4-H organizations are always looking to increase enrollment.

“4-H has something for everybody,” she said.

The county fair continues Thursday through Saturday.

Thursday’s schedule includes more judged contests and a mutton busting challenge beginning at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5.

A semi-pro rodeo will be held about 8 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $13 for adults and $7 for children.

More exhibits and contests are slated for Friday, including a pie baking contest. A livestock auction will be held at 7 p.m.

The Scott Peery Band will perform from 8-11 p.m. Friday. Admission is $5.

Friday is also Senior Day at the fair from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A free lunch will be provided to people 50-over. There is no admission charge to the event, which is being hosted by the Leavenworth County Council on Aging.

Saturday’s events include a horse show, turtle races and a children’s tractor pull. There will be a mud run at noon. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

The Bull Buckout bull riding competition begins at 8 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children.

There is no general admission charge to attend the fair, but parking is $4. Numerous vendors will be selling food and there will be carnival rides at a cost.