Valley Clubs Get Boost From Food Sales
HARRISONBURG — Fairgoers may come in for the milkshakes, but they find plenty more to keep them coming back to the 4-H Food Pavilion.
“The milkshakes are definitely a big draw for us,” said Kathy Layman, an adviser with the Greenmount 4-H Club in Broadway. “But we’ve also got taco salads and taco wraps that have quite the reputation, too. And it’s all for a good cause.”
Layman oversees a kitchen crew of about a dozen teenagers and a handful of adults manning the grill in the pavilion on Monday afternoon as the 2014 Rockingham County Fair got off to a drizzly and overcast start.
Customers trickled up to the window little by little, but Makalyn Nesselrodt, 17, knows the crowds are coming.
“We get really busy every night, especially with the concerts,” said Nesselrodt, a rising senior at Broadway High School. She’s a member of the Greenmount 4-H and has volunteered in the food booth for the past nine years. “On busy nights, we’ll have a line all the way up the hill back by the grandstand.”
When it comes to the food shacks, long lines are a good thing.
With every chicken wrap, hamburger or order of fries fairgoers purchase, proceeds will go back into the 4-H programs in Rockingham County.
4-H is just one of a slew of local groups, including the Future Farmers of America, Kiwanis and Ruritan clubs, that man food booths as fundraisers during the fair.
“The Kiwanis sell pizza, the Mount Crawford Ruritans sell chili cheese fries and there’s fried Oreos just up the way,” Nesselrodt said. “It’s good food and all that money goes back into the communities for things like scholarships and community events.”
For the 4-H food booth, the labor is divvied up among the local clubs.
“We’ve got about 12 local clubs that each work a shift and a half to two shifts during fair week,” said Layman, who’s volunteered for 12 years now, even after her son graduated high school. “The kids work really hard and they balance their animal duties with volunteering with the food booth.”
The Greenmount group will be back at the food booth on Saturday afternoon, the same day many of them will be showing at the sheep breeders show.
“We make it work somehow,” Nesselrodt said. “The stress is worth it when we see how much this helps our 4-H clubs.”
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