There are 32 4-H clubs in the county, with 600 members who will take part in fair activities all week, Bennett said. New this year will be a 4-H Day on Aug. 6, where youths can learn about other projects available to members, such as cooking, robotics, sewing and crafts.
Maura McGraw said that as the youngest in an animal-oriented family, she thought that "everybody belonged to 4-H" when she was growing up. There are horses, goats, ducks, pigs, chickens and guinea hens in the small barn in a corner of the McGraw family's 6.3-acre lot.
She said she's "been around pigs since she was 2." The two she now has are named Wiz Khalifa and Syd tha Kyd after two rap performers, though she's quick to point out that she doesn't necessarily like the music. She just enjoys naming her pigs after popular singers, and has also had ones named Britney Spears and "Sniffy" Tim McGraw.
"These are market pigs, and the girls know they have a purpose," Donna McGraw said. "But while they're here with us, they're well cared for."
Maura also spent most of the past school year getting up at 4:45 a.m. each day to bottle-feed two baby goats named Augie and Konstantine before catching the bus at 6:30 a.m., a schedule she coped with because "my goats are sweeties," she said.
She's using the raw goat milk to put another 50 pounds on Wiz Khalifa because she "likes her pigs to be big for the fair." And since they can gain three pounds a day, that shouldn't be a problem, she said.
Caring for animals is a huge time commitment, but it teaches kids a lot, her mother said.
"My girls have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their 4-H projects," she said, "but it's worth it for all they get out of it."
Carolyn McGraw, a rising senior at Pennsylvania State University who's majoring in animal science with a minor in wildlife and fisheries, said she's a "huge animal person."
"Animals are all I do, and I love what I'm studying. I wouldn't have it any other way," said Carolyn, who worked on 4-H dog training with Bosco and other projects before heading to college.
And the animals give back, too, Donna McGraw pointed out. Bosco has been performing double duty lately, she said. He has been guarding the barn animals against a fox's recent overtures.
If you go
What: The 67th annual Howard County Fair
When: Aug. 4-11; gate opens at 8 a.m.
Where: Howard County Fairgrounds, 2210 Fairground Road, West Friendship
Cost: General admission, $5; 62 and older, $2; 9 and under, free.
Schedule of events: howardcountyfair.org