2020 4-H Exhibit Hall Guidelines

2021 4-H Exhibit Hall Guidelines coming soon!

Download Maine State Virtual Fair 4-H Exhibit Hall Guidelines, 2020 (PDF)

Participation in the Maine State Virtual Fair is an opportunity for 4-H members to be recognized for their efforts on projects they have completed and skills they have gained over the past 4-H year. Club members and independent 4-Hers from Maine are eligible and welcome to submit entries to the Exhibit Hall, following virtual 4-H state fair rules.

hand crafted birdhouseGeneral Information

Setting up the Exhibit Hall

You must submit your exhibits to the state 4-H exhibit hall staff between July 15 – August 1, 2020. All exhibits will be uploaded by 4-H staff by August 15, 2020. Exhibits will be organized by category. Photos of your work should be taken according to the Photo Tip Sheet. You must name your file with your first and last name and the category you want to submit (i.e.; chris clover communication arts). Written projects can be uploaded as doc., docx., or PDF format. Photos should be jpg. format.  If an accommodation is needed to enter an exhibit (such as help with photographing or internet connectivity), please contact your county office staff.


All current 4-H members, including Independent members, in Maine are eligible to exhibit their projects in the State Virtual Exhibit Hall.

4-H Rules and Exhibit Guidelines for Individuals

  1. Entries are open to all enrolled 4-H members aged 9 to 18 (4-H age) in any county in Maine. 4-H members aged 5 to 8 (4-H age) are considered Cloverbuds. 4-H Cloverbuds may submit entries for non-competitive display to the exhibition hall if they are currently enrolled in 4-H.
  2. 4-Hers may exhibit only those items that are produced and/or prepared by him/her during the current 4-H year (after October 1, 2019). NO KITS will be accepted, except in “Sewing & Needlecraft” or “Building Models” project areas. By a “KIT”, we mean articles made of pre-cut or pre-formed pieces that are only assembled by the 4-Her.
  3. Members may enter up to 3 exhibits (see project areas below).
  4. Exhibit hall entry will be completed online. Each entry must have a completed 4-H Exhibit/Judging online form. Notice to Leader or Parent: Any special circumstances, such as a learning or physical disability, should be noted by an explanation in the space provided on the form.
  5. Artwork and projects should be photographed according to the attached instructions. Photographed submissions should follow the attached guidelines.
  6. Exhibits will be accepted between July 15 and August 1, 2020. Items not submitted during this time period will not be entered into the virtual exhibit hall.
  7. Judging will be done on the “Danish System.” Each worthy exhibit will be awarded a ribbon-based on how well it displays the appropriate skills for a member’s age and skill level, with the exception of Cloverbuds. Cloverbuds will receive a participation ribbon for every item they exhibit in the Virtual Exhibition Hall. Cloverbuds will not be included in the judging process. No premiums are being awarded for participation in the Virtual Exhibition Hall, however, ribbons will be awarded and an associated number of “chances” will be entered for drawings.  Ex: blue ribbon = 3 chances, red ribbon = 2 chances, white ribbon = 1 chance. All cloverbuds will be entered automatically.  Keep in mind that quality is being judged, not quantity.
  8. Prizes. Youth will be entered in randomized drawings for $25 gift cards. These prizes were provided by the Maine 4-H Foundation. Cloverbuds will have their own drawing. Youth ages 9 and up will be entered based on their ribbons. Blue ribbons will be entered three times, Red ribbons will be entered two times and white ribbons will be entered once. Gift cards will be mailed directly to youth.

Judging According to the Danish System

The Danish system is a method of evaluation where a product or process is evaluated against a set of standards, and recognition is awarded on the degree to which the standard has been met by each competitor. In the Danish system judging, the exhibitors are not judged against each other. In a ‘true’ Danish system, the standard of excellence is the same for everyone regardless of age or experience. In 4-H, a ‘modified’ Danish system uses standards that are adjusted according to a member’s age and years of experience in the project. The Danish system is used in 4-H for 9 through 18-year-olds because it is a way to provide recognition to greater numbers of youth who may all be making significant progress in their projects. The Danish system is considered by National 4-H Policy to be a competitive form of judging and is therefore not to be used for 4-H members under the age of 9.

In Maine 4-H, ribbons traditionally awarded by the Danish system are:

  • Blue: for excellence, exceeding the standards
  • Red: for good work that meets the expected standard
  • White: for work that falls below the expected standard

All Judgements will be final.

Exhibit Elements

Posters: For a digital poster, please visit our tip sheet page to find templates to use for your poster. Posters can include photographs taken by the member (or have permission to use), hand drawings, or copyright-free images.

girl holding fresh vegetablesExhibit Hall Project Categories

Art & Craft—2D and 3D

  • Any original drawing or painting
  • Any original sculpture
  • Any item hand-crafted by 4-Her including (but not limited to) the use of skills in: Candle/Soap Making, Decorative Painting/Tole Painting, Paper Mache, Basketry, Ceramics/Pottery, Jewelry Making, etc.

Bicentennial of Maine

  • Depiction of any aspect of the History of Maine as a state. This could be from a perspective of agriculture, politics, geography, cultural issues, your own family history, etc.

Building Models


  • Model built with store-bought kit (lego, lincoln logs, k’nex) following kit instructions.


  • Model built using existing blocks to create your own design or masterpiece.

Citizenship, Community Service & Leadership

  • A project in citizenship, community service or leadership

Communication Arts

  • The activity of conveying ideas written or verbal. Projects in this area should cover any form of communication including public speaking, journalism, etc. All writing has a single-page limit.


  • A recipe or group of recipes including title, list of ingredients and amounts in order of their addition, and instructions for preparation. Can include a photo or illustration of a prepared dish.


  • A business model, the development of your own product, or examples of marketing of your own product.


  • Photo: Black and white or color single photo of high quality, illustrating techniques of photography (rule of thirds, good lighting, special effects, etc.)

Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

  • An object created using mainly items that have had a previous purpose (g. a shelf made from old barn boards, a handbag from a feed bag)
  • A restored object, such as a small piece of furniture that has been repaired and/or refinished.


Animal Care/Veterinary Science

  • Depict your project about the care of an animal (livestock or pet)
  • Any item made for an animal (g. tack box)
  • Any animal product (g. 6 clean eggs or a sheepskin vest)
  • Depiction of the parts of an animal, animal health, genetics and/or nutrition

Aquatic Life

  • Project concerning aquatic life (freshwater or marine)
  • Aquaculture/Aquaponics: Rearing aquatic animals and/or cultivating aquatic plants for food. Projects in this area should reflect work in this area.

Computer Science

  • Digital 2-D art
  • A 3-D printed object
  • Depict something the member learned related to computers (hardware, software coding, web design, etc.)

Conservation, Ecology & Natural Resources

  • A project about conservation or ecological issues
  • A project showing conservation practices (g. recycling, logging, water quality)
  • Item made from something found in nature (g. log made into a birdhouse or bench)


  • Explain how an existing process or product works.
  • Illustrate a plan for a new process or product (or an improvement on an existing one) created by the member.
  • A new product prototype (or an improvement on an existing product) built by the member. Include an explanation of the problem-solving process to create it.


  • Research or demonstrate types of energy such as solar, geothermal, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, coal, fuel oil, renewable, or research of energy efficiency.


  • Labeled display of drawings or photos of insects
  • Photo of a specimen exhibit neatly mounted and labeled with specimen’s name, date and location collected


  • Project about geology (study of rocks and minerals)
  • Photo of a specimen exhibit neatly labeled with specimen’s name, date and location collected


  • Project about your geocaching or GPS adventure
  • A map or chart created using GIS technology

Human Health & Nutrition

  • Health issues, such as nutrition, benefits of exercise, emotional health, sports health, etc.
  • First aid and emergency preparedness

Mechanical Science

  • Depiction of a part or entire mechanical system; labeled, with explanation of the item’s function. (g. a car exhaust system, a starter, etc.)
  • Depiction of a piece of machinery or mechanical system that the member built, renovated, repaired, or is in the process of doing so. (i.e. a car exhaust system, a string trimmer, an entire tractor, etc.)

Plant Science & Crops/Botany

  • Depiction of plant science or farming
  • Photo of sample vegetables, crops or fruits grown by the member:
  • Berries or grains – 1 pint
  • Small vine crops (g. beans, peas) – 10 specimens
  • Large vine crops (g. cucumbers, pumpkins, squash) – 1 specimen
  • Root crops (g. potatoes, carrots) – 3 specimens
  • Vegetables grown in heads (g. broccoli, cabbage) – 1 specimen
  • Other vegetables (g. corn, tomatoes, peppers) – 3 specimens
  • Flower Gardening and Houseplants grown by the member
  • Garden flower plants
  • Potted house plants
  • Potted herbs

Wildlife Biology

  • Project about wildlife that you studied
  • Casts of tracks you made
  • Items made for wildlife use (g. birdhouses or feeders)

Woodworking & Metalworking

  • A project built from wood
  • A carved project
  • A wood-burning project
  • A detailed woodworking plan
  • An object made primarily from metal using a process such as metal machining, welding, forging, etc.

Writing & Reading

  • A poem (single page limit)
  • A short story
  • A list of books read this 4-H year with a short synopsis for each (single page limit)