Winter 2017

Making state fair memories

4-H participants discuss their sewing projects with a state fair judge.
Photography by Laurie Schneider

David Werner has plenty of memories of the Minnesota State Fair. During the first year he showed livestock as a 4-H’er, his pig—a Duroc gilt—got sick. David was so worried that he spent most of the fair sitting in his pig’s pen. Today, he’s still involved in the fair, serving as a livestock encampment official this past year.

David’s wife, Linda, has her own stories. Like her husband, she got started in 4-H as a kid, and has since participated in the state fair as an exhibitor and judge.

So when the Werners were considering ways to give back, the University of Minnesota Extension 4-H was at the top of their list.

“It’s been a big part of our lives, a part of shaping who we are and who we’ve become,” says David, who recently retired as Extension chief financial officer.

The couple will help a new generation of 4-H participants create their own state fair memories through the David and Linda Werner Endowment for 4-H State Fair Experiences.

Starting this summer, funds from the endowment will provide scholarships to
4-H kids who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend and showcase their work. The endowment also will help youths, families, volunteers, or staff who experience financial emergencies at the fair.

“We are hoping the gift will allow anyone involved in the 4-H program to have as positive an experience as possible,” David says.