Moore Holds 4-H Centennial Celebration
On the ground, a walking "peanut" reminded everyone of recent history, and in the air, 4-H'ers saw the community from the gondola of a blue and gold hot air balloon.
Moore County 4-H Clubs celebrated their centennial Saturday with a gala observance marked by everything from chicken barbecue to reminiscences about club activities of yesteryear.
"It was a really great day," said Linda Gore, 4-H Extension agent with the Moore County Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
An estimated 250 people attended the 100th anniversary of the popular 4-H Club program, held on the grounds of the Agriculture Center in Carthage.
Rainy weather cleared out in time for the event, and the hot air balloon rides turned out to be as popular as expected.
The prospect was so appealing that Gore received a request the previous day from a couple wanting to get married aboard the balloon. Gore referred them to the owner of the balloon, but apparently the arrangements were never made.
Miss Moore County, Charity Ruth Haskins, made her first official appearance at the celebration. A former 4-H'er, she was crowned the previous Saturday night. Also attending were Katie Kearns, Miss Moore County's Outstanding Teen, and their princesses. Haskins performed her pageant-winning selection, "My Favorite Things," for the gathering.
Wandering the grounds was "Mr. Peanut," the 4-H mascot suited up in a peanut costume to remind everyone of "the House that Peanuts Built." More officially, his mascot name, as the 4-H Centurion, was Titus Rudolphus Legumulus.
Kathy Lawrence, who chaired the Moore County 4-H Centen-nial Committee, said the mascot was promoting support for the state 4-H museum being developed on the grounds of Camp Millstone. It is a $4.5 million project that is just getting started.
It was a tough economy back in the 1930s when a young 4-H Club member, Rudolph Carl Ellis, sold roasted peanuts to help his father build a home for their family. The Ellis family recently donated their old home for use as a 4-H museum, and the house has been moved from Cumberland County to Camp Millstone in Richmond County.
Evelyn Monroe, state winner of the 4-H barbecue chicken cook-off, showed off her culinary skills and offered samples to visitors.
Gore said that one visitor is a man who splits his residency between Aberdeen and Iowa and is the grandson of a national founder of the 4-H Club movement.
4-H leaders and volunteers were on hand to reminisce about the early days, to lead in crafts and provide tidbits of history. A film professionally produced by UNC-TV on the history of 4-H was shown in the Ag Center auditorium throughout the afternoon. Master Gardener volunteers tilled a demonstration garden plot and were available to answer questions from the public. The Extension staff was also available to provide information about 4-H Clubs and Extension programs.
Horses and goats were among the four-footed visitors. Hot dogs and centennial ice cream, a cold version of the popular S'mores sweet favored by campers, were served.
4-H, representing Head, Heart, Hands and Health, had its start nationally in the late 1890s with the first corn contests for boys in Illinois. The concept spread across the country with the formation of corn clubs and tomato clubs, and later girls were invited to join.
In North Carolina, the first 4-H Club was established in Ahoskie as a corn club for boys.
Today Moore County has 13 clubs, including horse clubs, community clubs, after-school groups and other special interest groups that focus on a variety of interests, such as the environment and science. The county's 1,152 4-H participants are among almost 140,000 members across North Carolina.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at (910) 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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