MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Even though Cheli Payne grew up on a farm, 4-H activities always seemed to get in the way of sports, especially girls softball.
Today, Payne is the mother of three girls, two of whom — Desiree, 15, and Miranda, 11 — are into 4-H, from raising and showing market and breeding Boer goats to photography and cooking. Taryn, the 5-year-old, “is too young yet,” Payne said.
The Payne family raises goats at Pine Brook Boers, their farm in Hedgesville, W.Va., and Payne, true to her first love, still is involved in girls softball.
“I’ve been coaching it for 12 years,” she said.
She is the second vice president of the 65th annual Berkeley County Youth Fair, which starts today. She is responsible for the commercial activities — concession stands, vendors, vehicle and implement dealers who exhibit at the fair.
“All the livestock and exhibits will be brought in today,” Payne said.
The fair historically only allows youth exhibitors, hence its name.
“It’s strictly for kids,” Payne said. “Adults can’t exhibit anything here.”
Represented are such youth organizations as 4-H, Future Farmers of America, Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and the Family Career and Community Leaders of America, she said.
Popular features include the carnival and bull-riding competition.
“That’s always a big moneymaker,” Payne said.
This year’s featured performer is Let it Rain artist David Nail. He goes on stage Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the amphitheater.
Animal judging begins Monday morning with rabbits and swine, followed Tuesday morning with goats and poultry. Beef will be judged Wednesday morning, and dairy judging and the horse show are set for Thursday morning.
The 4-H livestock sale of beef, hogs, lambs and goats gets under way Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Judging of the indoor exhibits begins today at 11:30 a.m. The official opening ceremonies start today at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Miss Berkeley County Youth Fair competition and crowning.