The North Bend Eagle


Von Rein enjoys judge's chair at state fair

by Stephanie Iwan Flamme
Published 9/2/15

It’s state fair time, but for Mariann von Rein fair season began in July. Von Rein has been a county fair judge for over 10 years and a state fair 4-H judge for five.

Von Rein was initially asked to judge because of her involvement with 4-H with her four daughters. She also worked at an extension office while in college.

Mariann von Rein judgingMariann von Rein judges a toddler's rocker in the 4-H child development competition at the Nebraska State Fair.

“When I was seen at one fair by another county, I would then be asked to judge,” von Rein said. “So my commitments just grew.”

She begins her judging season in July at area fairs. She has judged at the Dodge, Cumming, Burt, Washington, Madison and Platte county fairs as well as the Fremont 4-H fair.

She usually judges child development, foods, food preservation, home environment, beef, poultry and pork.

“My favorite event to judge is the favorite food displays,” said von Rein, “because of the set ups of tablescapes.”

Her most memorable event was at the Cumming County Fair open-class cakes and the 4-H interviews.

“The layer cakes were just amazing and the interviews were very thoughtful,” von Rein said.

At the state fair, von Rein concentrates on judging the same event. This year she worked mainly on 4-H child development projects.

“When I arrive in the morning, there are tables and tables in the 4-H building loaded with the same projects,” von Rein said. “While at the county level the judges wait for all projects to be entered, we begin judging in Grand Island immediately before everything arrives in order to get finished.”

Von Rein has to brush up on the criteria for each event before she judges. She receives sample evaluation sheets and criteria sheets before the fairs. She also takes time to research cookbooks.

“This is very important because I want to give good feed back to the contestants, “von Rein said. “This is really an educational opportunity for the participants.”

4-H has been around since 1902, and von Rein believes that it has endured for so long because people realize the value of teaching life skills and responsibility.

Her advice to 4-H members who are planning a project: “Have a very unique and different idea from everyone else; then pay attention to the criteria.”

<<Back to the front page