The following rules apply to all departments of the 4-H Section of the Nebraska State Fair. Rules that apply specifically to a particular department will be listed under rules for that department.
- ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR EXHIBITORS - An exhibitor must be a 4-H member enrolled in the project they are exhibiting in the county, which he/she represents. Youth must be enrolled in 4-H by June 15 of the current year.
Age divisions for contests sometimes vary; therefore, it is important to review event age rules for specific contests that have district, regional, state, and/or national events.
The Nebraska State Fair has established the following age divisions:
- Intermediate: 4-H ages 10 to 13
- Senior: 4-H ages 14 to 18
In classes where presence of the 4-H'er is required for judging purposes, such as animal exhibits, judging contests, presentations, and fashion show, a 4-H member must be 10 before January 1, of the current year, or become 11 years of age during the current year. The last year of eligibility is the calendar year the member becomes 19.
For classes where presence of the 4-H'er is not required, a 4-H member must be 8 before January 1, of the current year, or become 9 years of age during the current year.
- PROCEDURE FOR MAKING ENTRIES - 4-H animal entries (beef, sheep, swine, goats, poultry, rabbits and dogs will be entered through ShoWorks online by the 4-H family. All “in person” events such as fashion show, presentations, and contests will also be entered through ShoWorks online by the family. The entry deadline is August 10 at 5 pm central time. For livestock entries (beef, swine, sheep, goats), youth will have until August 10 to declare if they will show 4-H or FFA at State Fair. Youth who choose to exhibit their animal in the FFA show at State Fair will be ineligible to show that animal at the AKSARBEN show.
- ENTRY FEES - Livestock exhibitors are required to pay entry fees for their exhibits as follows:
Market Beef: $36.00 per head, Breeding Beef: $33.00 per head
Dairy Cattle: $Please refer to State Fair Rules for Dairy Cattle Guidelines
Meat Goats, Market Lambs, Market Swine: $13.00 per head
Breeding Sheep, Breeding Does: $10 per head
Dogs: $2.50 per class (Obedience & Agility) Poultry & Rabbits: $3.00 per animal
The entry fees provide for items such as wood bedding for beef, meat goats, sheep, and swine and for drug testing fees for market animals. All livestock entry fees are non-refundable.
CONTEST ENTRY FEES - 4-H members involved in all State Fair Judging Contest, and Premier Exhibitor competitions are required to pay a non-refundable entry fee of $5.00 per person. 4-H members involved in presentation and fashion show are required to pay a non-refundable entry fee of $5.00 per person.
- NUMBER OF ENTRIES - Only one entry per class per exhibitor may be made except in livestock, dog, poultry and rabbit classes or as indicated. A 4-H'er may exhibit up to five dog classes, five rabbits and five poultry entries. An exhibitor can exhibit three market hogs. An exhibitor can exhibit up to four sheep or meat goats, if at least one is a breeding female. An exhibitor can exhibit up to three beef animals, if at least one is a breeding heifer.
- PREMIUMS - No premiums in any 4-H class will be distributed until identification and drug tests are complete.
- T-SHIRTS - T-shirts will be given to all “in person event” exhibitors (livestock, presentations, fashion show, contests) but will not be given to static exhibit exhibitors.
- EXHIBITOR ATTIRE– The t-shirts provided to exhibitors are required to be worn for all "in-person event" exhibitions during presentation and awards. The following exceptions to this rule are: Fashion Show, Presentation, Communication, and Culinary Challenge. Please refer to these events' individual guidelines for dress code expectations.
- STATIC EXHIBIT DISPLAYS - Large static exhibits made for outdoors (i.e. lawn & garden furniture & trailers, animal feeding structures, picnic tables, barn quilts) may be displayed outdoors at the discretion of 4-H staff and/or area superintendents if additional display space is needed inside the exhibit hall.
- EXHIBITS RELEASED - All Static Exhibits will be released according to the County Extension Staff unless the proper documentation has been submitted. Dates and times will be listed on the Master 4-H Schedule at http://4h.unl.edu/state-fair.
- PROTEST COMMITTEE (all protests other than livestock)
- The respective superintendent has the authority to make appropriate decisions based on the 4-H Premium Book. When needed, a committee shall be appointed to serve as a protest review group. They will meet when needed to act upon concerns.
- All protests must be submitted in writing and signed.
- The written protest must be submitted to the State Fair Management Team and must include:
- names of persons involved
- nature of concerns
- situation and documentation
- recommendations for correction
- specific action, rule, etc., in question
- additional persons committee may contact for further clarification
- procedures and/or steps carried out by person involved prior to submission of the protest to the State Fair 4-H Management Team.
- The committee will review the written protest. They may discuss the situation with affected persons and show officials, including Nebraska State Fair management. Recommendations will be developed, followed, and communicated both verbally and in writing to the group or individuals affected.
- In cases of protest, the exhibitor may be allowed to show, but results of showing will be subject to change based on the outcome of the protest process. This allows for smooth operation of the show and facilitates appropriate processing.
- The 4-H State Fair Management Team reserves the right to withhold any award. The exhibitor may be excluded from the show if action warrants.
- Protests will not be accepted after the exhibit is released from the 4-H Division of State Fair. Protests related to judges' integrity, decision, placings, or other evaluations will not be accepted.
- Protests related to livestock must follow the process outlined in the State Fair General Livestock Rules & Regulations.
- DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR EXHIBITS AT THE NEBRASKA STATE FAIR - 4-H exhibits at Nebraska State Fair are entered and displayed at the risk of the 4-H member. Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development, in cooperation with the Nebraska State Fair Board accepts exhibits and will exercise due care to protect them. However, 4-H and State Fair Board cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage due to the conditions imposed by large crowds, the arrangement of the buildings where displays are housed, and the large number of exhibits. 4-H'ers who have exhibits of great sentimental and/or monetary value should carefully consider whether such exhibits should be exposed to the hazards of the fair.
- SMOKING: To safeguard exhibitors and livestock, smoking is prohibited in all barns. All exhibitors and guests are asked to cooperate with us in enforcing this rule.
- ALCOHOL ABUSE: To safeguard exhibitors, livestock and the public, the State of Nebraska Rules on Alcohol Use and Abuse will be enforced.
- FIRST AID - An infirmary is in operation on the Fairgrounds 24 hours a day for exhibitors and patrons. USE THESE FACILITIES for emergency treatment and first aid needs. The State Fair management will work to protect participants from injury. The Nebraska State Fair will not be held responsible for any accident, damage or loss. Should any accident occur prompt attention is available at the First Aid Station maintained on the fairgrounds. While the greatest possible care will be exercised by the management to protect patrons of the State Fair, each individual will be held personally responsible for any injury.
- RIBBONS AWARDED - In the 4-H Section, exhibits will be judged according to research-based standards that indicate level of performance or quality of work. Purple ribbons designate an exhibit of superior quality that has met and exceeded all of the standards. Blue ribbons denote an above average exhibit that has met almost all of the standards in a way that surpasses the norm. Red ribbons indicate average quality and indicate that the exhibit has met the majority of standards in such a way that the benchmark was reached, but not exceeded. White ribbons indicate that the exhibit has not met the majority of the standards.
- SPECIAL AWARDS - No special awards will be presented unless they have been approved by the State Fair 4-H Management Team.
- NIGHT SECURITY - The 4-H/FFA Exhibit building will be closed to the public and locked at 9:00 p.m. Security is provided for livestock barns at all times.
- CAMPING - Camping is not permitted in the parking lot.
- FIRE PREVENTION - Care must be given to avoid the use of flammable materials.
- VIOLATION OF RULES renders the exhibitor subject to loss of ribbons, other awards, and/or elimination from the show.
- DISQUALIFICATION - The superintendent will determine eligibility/ineligibility of an exhibit entry in their division. All ineligible items will not be judged and will not be displayed.
- Projects cannot be shown in both 4-H and FFA at the State Fair.
- Exhibitors may not advertise or sell animals or products at the State Fair.
- GOLF CARTS AND SERVICE CARTS will require a permit for operation in State Fair Park. See Nebraska State Fair website to check for rules.
- Exhibitors may not have any county identification on their shirts, hats, etc. while participating in contests or showing animals.