For the past six years, 14-year-old Brynna Beutke has been continuing a tradition that started many generations before her, attending the annual Livingston County Ag Fair and 4-H Show. Whether she's showing projects, listening to feedback from judges or just checking out the livestock around the fairgrounds, Beutke says fair week is one of her favorite weeks of the year.
    "Sometimes I dread it a little bit because of all the things we have to do to get ready," Beutke said. “But it's just one of those things where you're nervous before you get there, but then once you're there, everything is great."
    Beutke's mother, Melissa, said her memories of showing with her own parents inspired her to continue the tradition with her daughter.
    "She was naturally interested in 4-H once we got her started with her dog," she said. "Her next project was cooking and then she slowly added in some of the other projects because of things she saw other kids submitting for the fair. So, she's carried on with some projects and stopped doing some of the others."
    This year, Beutke will be showing two calves, several chickens, two ducks, a cat and a dog at the fair in addition to numerous 4-H projects. When choosing what to show, some choices are easier than others.
    "For the chickens, I basically bring as many as possible,” she explained. “I have two dogs, but I only show one of them. For the cats, it just depends on how many look good. Then, for the calves, we get some advice and help from family friends Darrin Sass and Ryan Mueller."
    The number of projects she submits for the fair each year changes from year-to-year depending on her schedule.
    "This year I haven't done as much as I have in the past, but it really just depends on how much time I have and how much work I want to put towards everything," Beutke said. "Some projects don't require as much time. Like, the vegetables I brought this year. For vegetables, you just take care of your garden throughout the summer and then pick your vegetables the day before the show.
    "On the other hand, with the cattle and the dog, you have to work with them every day and get them used to everything. So, if you do that plus other projects, it's a big-time commitment to get everything taken care of."
    After being part of 4-H for so long, Beutke says she doesn't really worry about how she does with the judges. Her enjoyment comes from preparing and showing projects at the fair each year.
    "I have fun working on the projects over the summer and then, when I come to the fair, it's like a big family gathering," Beutke said. "I really enjoy getting to spend time with everybody. Yes, it's a plus getting ribbons and praise, but I don't worry about it too much."
    Beutke said although she doesn't worry too much about ribbons, she appreciates the feedback she receives from the judges.
    "I recently spoke with a judge about my cooking project. The judge really loved what I brought in. She gave me lots of good feedback and even took a piece and said, 'I'm going to keep this for later. I really like this.' Good feedback means a lot for future projects and I'm having a lot of fun."