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Urgent Kitchen Improvements for the 4-H State Fair Building

A personal campaign sponsored by UMN Extension

August 5, 2021


The 4-H community is incredible! Thank you for helping us achieve our goal of $25,000! Any money raised beyond our goal will go to the fair's exhibit staff and kitchen team to enhance the building and create a better experience for all.

The Minnesota State Fair opens its gates in mere days, and 4-H needs your help to overcome an unexpected challenge. When we opened the 4-H Building this season, critical pieces of kitchen equipment would not start up for their annual run. We’ve fixed the commercial ovens, steam table, and dishwasher many times over the years... but they must be replaced immediately.

A visionary donor has stepped forward with a unique challenge -- their family will provide a 1:1 match for up to $25,000 in gifts toward replacing broken equipment in the State Fair 4-H Building’s kitchen.  If we can achieve this goal, Minnesota 4-H can obtain the reliable commercial-grade kitchen we need to prepare the 30,000 meals we serve during the fair.

The relationship between Minnesota 4-H and the Minnesota State Fair is unmatched across the country. Our state’s unique expectation that 4-H’ers earn their trip to exhibit at the State Fair creates an annual showcase of the best learning and leadership. 

Each year, 4-H’ers explore the Fair in many ways:

  • 2,400+ youth exhibit projects that showcase their talent and knowledge
  • 3,000+ youth exhibit livestock 
  • 500+ youth give demonstrations or participate in a judging team
  • 550+ youth perform in State Arts-In, Share-the-Fun, and other experiences
  • 25 State 4-H Ambassadors welcome 250,000+ fairgoers to the 4-H Building each year

At the center of every 4-H’ers State Fair experience is a common theme… FOOD! Everyone loves a quick nutritious meal, enjoyed with new friends from across the state. Over the 12-day fairs, Minnesota 4-H serves 30,000 meals for youth, chaperones, volunteers, judges, Arts-In youth, and State Ambassadors.

Thousands of youth have called the “4-H Hilton” home while they exhibited at the State Fair. The building is much more than a dormitory or exhibition hall! The friendships, leadership roles, team projects, and mentor relationships nurtured within its white walls give the 4-H Building a heart and soul. The State Fair maintains the building’s core systems, and 4-H is responsible for the specialized equipment within the building -- the kitchen, the Arts-In stage, display spaces, technology, and more.

A group of leaders from the Fair and 4-H are planning for a once-in-a-generation remodel of the building at some point in the next decade. But before we’re ready to tackle that challenge we need to address immediate needs and keep an eye to the future. 

If the State Fair 4-H Building is an important part of your personal story, we invite you to make a gift of any amount that’s meaningful to you. Your contribution will be matched 1:1 -- doubling your impact. Don’t wait! Make your gift today.


P.S.   If you’d like information about other ways to give, contact Jane Johnson at to learn more about estate and planned giving opportunities.