6.1 Relationship between the Indiana 4-H Youth Development Program and the Indiana State Fair

The Indiana State Fair is quasi-state government entity. The Indiana State Fair Commission and Board of Directors are charged with owning and operating the 250-acre State Fairgrounds located at 9202 E. 38th Street in Indianapolis. Educational events, entertainment, and promotional events are offered at the fairgrounds year-round. A signature event in their annual programming is the Indiana State Fair, held over the course of several weeks in late July and August.

The Indiana 4-H Youth Development Program and Purdue Extension are invited guests to the Indiana State Fair each year. Competitive events are offered exclusively for those youth who have enrolled in the 4-H Program. The State Fair and 4-H Program work together to establish the policies and procedures related to these classes and events held during the Indiana State Fair.

The State Fair terms and conditions supersede the Indiana 4-H Program guidelines during the exhibitions held during the annual Indiana State Fair that are reserved for 4-H participants. Indiana State Fair guidelines are found in the following section. They are revised in late fall/winter of each year and may change based on what is published by Purdue Extension annually.


6.2 State Fair: Exhibit; Animal Ownership/Possession and Exhibition; Determination of Violations, Terms and Conditions; and Grievance Procedure

6.2.1 State Fair Exhibits

  1. An exhibit may not be entered in more than one State Fair 4-H class except in some animal classes where designated. In a State Fair class requiring more than one item, all items must be exhibited by the same 4-H member. All parts of an exhibit made in one class must belong to one 4-H member.
  2. All 4-H exhibits at the State Fair must be prepared during the current 4-H Eligibility rests solely with the State 4-H Youth Program Leader on entries in all 4-H classes.
  3. Any 4-H exhibit removed from display prior to the official release will be Any 4-H placings/prizes (including ribbons, money, medals, trophies, etc.) awarded that exhibit will be forfeited.
  4. 4-H exhibitors having an entry in animal classes at State Fair are expected to show their own animals. In cases where this cannot be done, the owner may request another Indiana 4-H member to serve as a substitute Substitute showmen must be approved in writing by the 4-H show manager, 24 hours prior to showing of the animal(s) needing a substitute showman. Requests will only be granted for medical emergencies, conflicts with showing other animals, or circumstances deemed unavoidable by the 4-H show manager. Failure to be excused from a job and/or participation in a non-4-H-related creative arts or sporting event or practice will not result in a substitute showman being granted.

6.2.2 State Fair Animal Ownership/Possession and Exhibition

Note: the May 15th deadline referenced in several items below will be extended to the following business day in a year when May 15th falls on a weekend or holiday.

  1. For 4-H breeding animals: family corporations and/or partnerships of 4-H members with one or more parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or legal guardians are acceptable.

  2. For 4-H dairy cattle: family corporations and/or partnerships of the 4-H member with unrelated persons or dairy operations are also acceptable.

  3. Dairy cows (as long as the animal is being shown by same 4-Her from 2020 and forward) and heifers, horses, ponies, alpacas and llamas may be leased subject to approval of both the county 4-H dairy, horse and pony, or llama committee and the respective County Extension Educator. 4-H animals (horse and pony, dairy, alpacas and llamas) are only eligible to be leased by an individual 4-H member in a 4-H program year.

  4. 4-H animals are expected to be in the possession and regular care of the 4-H member who owns/leases them (unless other arrangements have been agreed upon by the County 4-H Extension Educator) from the animal ID deadline until the conclusion of the county and/or state fair.

  5. 4-H market animals and commercial animals must be individually identified and verified under the supervision of the county 4-H program at county identification events by May 15th. These species include market lambs and commercial ewes, dairy wethers, dairy feeder steers, dairy beef steers, beef steers, market and commercial heifers, meat goat wethers, and market wether dams.

  6. 4-H animals purchased, sold or offered for sale after the enrollment deadline and prior to the Indiana State Fair (including animals that have gone through a "Premium Only Auction"), shall not be eligible to show in the 4-H show at the Indiana State Fair. Sale of products of animals (milk, cheese, wool, etc.) in lieu of the animal, are considered equivalent to a “Premium Only Auction”.

  7. 4-H animals exhibited after the May 15 State 4-H animal ID deadline at any show by anyone other than the individual whose 4-H enrollment record is connected to the ID of the animal in Indiana 4-H Online will not be eligible to be shown in the 4-H show at the Indiana State This term/condition does not apply to siblings, who may show each other’s animals at any show during the year without jeopardizing State Fair eligibility. 4- H animals that are selected by 4-H Extension Staff or 4-H Adult Volunteers for use in supreme showmanship contests (Master Showmanship, Round Robin, etc.) may be used in those county events without jeopardizing State Fair eligibility. This policy applies to all 4-H animal projects. For animal projects without state ID deadlines, the person who enters them in the Indiana State Fair 4-H show is the equivalent of the owner of the animals.

  8. 4-H members showing registered beef, Boer goats, dairy, dairy goats, sheep and swine must present a registration certificate (no photocopies, carbons or fax copies, except a fax or email directly from the national breed association to the Indiana State Fair) to the 4-H show manager or designee before the specified time for each specie, showing that the exhibitor owns the animal being exhibited, as per ownership terms, on or before the May 15 ID deadline and continuously until 4-H show day at the Indiana State Fair.

  9. 4-H breeding beef, Boer goats, dairy goats, sheep and swine must be registered in one of the following ownership methods:

    1. In the 4-H members’ name;
    2. John Smith and Sons;
    3. John Smith, Sons and Daughters;
    4. John Smith and Family (family includes sons, daughters, and legal guardian youth only);
    5. Mark Smith (brother) and Mary Smith (sister);
    6. Family corporations, where the 4-H members’ name appears as a holder of stock in the corporation, and proof of same must be supplied on or before the ID deadline; or
    7. Family partnership where the 4-H member’s father, mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent, and/or legal guardian is also in the family partnership and the 4-H member's name appears on the legal, notarized partnership. A copy of the written document must be on file with the Extension Office before the ID deadline. A single animal can only be included in one 4-H Online family profile.

  10. 4-H breeding beef, Boer goats, dairy goats, sheep and swine will NOT be accepted in the State Fair 4-H Show if they are registered in a father's name only, farm name only, or partnerships with unrelated persons (such as "Smith View", "Smith Oak", "John Doe and William Smith (4-H member)", "Long Oak and William Smith (4-H Member)", etc.).

  11. For 4-H dairy cattle, partnerships of the 4-H member with unrelated persons or dairy operations are acceptable (i.e. John Doe and William Smith (4-H member) or Long Oak and William Smith). Dairy cows and heifers, owned in a partnership, may not be exhibited by more than one person from May 15 until the conclusion of the State Fair 4-H Dairy Show. This person must be the exhibitor of the animal in the current State Fair 4-H Dairy Show, or the animal will be ineligible for this 4-H dairy cattle will not be accepted in 4-H classes at the State Fair if they are registered in the father's name only or in a farm name, such as "Smith View", "Smith Oak", etc., unless the 4-H member has a certified lease agreement for this animal.

  12. The Dairy lease program is only for 4-H members who do not own their own dairy cows and/or heifers. Only dairy heifers that will be less than two years-of-age at the time of the Indiana State Fair 4-H dairy show, may be leased. Leasing a dairy heifer will be considered the equivalent of ownership. The 4-H member should be regularly involved in the care of the heifer or cow, regardless of where the heifer is kept, and the 4-H member should have exclusive show rights to the heifer during the 4-H lease period from May 15 until the 4- H dairy show at the Indiana State Fair. Leased 4-H dairy heifers must be registered (although it is not necessary to have the registration paper transferred to the 4-H member’s name) by May 15 and be properly identified in Indiana 4-H Online.

  13. 4-H Exhibitors may receive clipping and grooming assistance from members of their immediate family (father, mother and siblings), from a current Indiana 4-H member, and from individuals in the Approved Animal Grooming Assistance Program. More information coming soon for 2024. 

  14. Temporary guardianships established for the intent of animal exhibition or grooming purposes are not permitted and shall result in immediate disqualification.


More information related to the Indiana State Fair including the Indiana State Fair 4-H Entry Book and Indiana State Fair Grievance Form can be found at www.indianastatefair.com/p/state-fair/competitions--contests