University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

4-H & Youth

4-H State Day and the Big E at Eastern States Exposition (ESE)

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4-H State Day, is a capstone experience for 4-H members who advance from county or regional competitions, to share and further compete with their 4-H project work. Participants not only further their self-confidence by sharing their project work with others, but they also benefit from evaluators' feedback on display and exhibit presentation as well areas in which their projects especially excelled. State Day is also a competition where presentations are selected to represent Vermont in the New England Center at the Big E in September. (Note: Cloverbuds may not participate at State Day, in keeping with UVM 4-H policy regarding Cloverbuds and age appropriateness for given activities and events.)

Each category is handled a bit differently at State Day. Below is an overview of each category along with relevant evaluation rubrics that provide details on how the exhibits are scored and what components need to be included. Please note: Any project submitted must have been created or developed in the 12 months preceding the event.

The three regions are:

  • NE/Central (Essex, Orleans, Caledonia, Lamoille, Washington, and Orange)
  • NW  (Franklin, Grand Isle, Addison, and Chittenden)
  • Southern (Windham, Windsor, Bennington and Rutland)
Action Exhibits

Each region may send 12 action exhibits to State Day. In order to be considered for Eastern States, the action exhibit at State Day must have 4 youth participating, and ensure that 4 youth will attend ESE. Action exhibits with less than 4 youth may participate at State Day but will not be eligible for ESE. Up to 8 action exhibits may be sent to ESE. Related criteria/form(s):

Action Exhibit (ver. 10/14/16)
Participant Information Letter


There is no cap on the number of exhibits per region that may participate, nor do top placings attend ESE. Sign Up for time slots in these categories occur on the day of the event, at the registration table – first come, first served. This assists in allowing members to participate in more than one State Day opportunity so times do not conflict. Related criteria/form(s):

Public Speaking
Illustrated Talk
Individual Demonstration
Team Demonstration
Participant Information Letter


There is no cap on the number of photos that may be entered into State Day however, only one photo per category (photo based design and basic photo) per member may be submitted, and all photos must have been awarded a blue ribbon at the local level. Photos should not be submitted in frames, but mattes are accepted and encouraged. Any photo submitted to State Day must have been created in the 12 months preceding the 4-H event. 4-6 photos from each category will be selected to be displayed at ESE throughout the entire fair. Related criteria/form(s):

Photo Based Design
Photo Based Design Examples
Participant Information Letter


Each region may send up to 16 posters. No red or white ribbons placing are allowed, given the large quantity of posters that move on to State Day. Posters are not re-evaluated at State Day however, a best of show placing is awarded. Each region, at Regional Day, will select one poster to send to ESE for display. One poster from each region will be selected at Regional Day to go to Eastern States. Related criteria/form(s):

Participant Information Letter

*This document provides many tips for producing a great looking poster. Please be sure however, to use these tips and apply them to the criteria in our evaluation form, as 4-H posters should be informative and educational and some of the tips in this document speak to a more simplified message that uses few words, different from the types of posters we hope for at Vermont 4-H events. Questions can always be asked of your 4-H Educator for clarification.


Clothing projects are not re-evaluated at State Day but participants will participate through a fashion review that typically kicks off the stage presentations. Fashion Review participants are also selected automatically to attend ESE. 4-H members can participate in fashion review at State Day if they designed a garment for another person (which can be either a 4-H'er or non 4-H'er) and wish to walk as a team (designer and model) however, the team is not eligible for participating at ESE. Related criteria/form(s):

Clothing Evaluation
Non-clothing Sewing Evaluation
Clothing Evaluation Registration Form
Suggestions for Writing Fashion Review Commentary
Fashion Revue Participant Rules
Participant Information Letter (Quilting / Non-Clothing)
Participant Information Letter (Fashion Review)

Stage Presentations

Each region may send 10 stage presentations plus have two alternates ready in case a presentation backs out. A presentation may be comprised of an individual or group, and must be at least 3 minutes and under 10 minutes long. At State Day, the top 20 presentations are shared, and then the remainder are told via mail where they rank in line to attend ESE. Stage presentations that receive white ribbons will not be selected for ESE. Related criteria/form(s):

Individual Stage Presentation (ver. 10/14/16)
Group Stage Presentation (ver. 10/14/16)
Lyric Checklist (2017)
Participant Information Letter
Stage Presentation Schedule

Table Tops

Each region may send 12 exhibits. No white ribbon placings may participate at State Day. At this point, table top presentations do not move on to ESE. Related criteria/form(s):

Tabletop Exhibit
Participant Information Letter

Technology exhibits

Each region may send up to 6 tech exhibits and these exhibits do not move on to ESE. The format for presenting the tech exhibits continues to change each year, until we figure the optimal manner of viewing these presentations. Exact details will come through letters send to exhibitors prior to State Day. Related criteria/form(s):

PowerPoint / Web Page / Computer Game
Video Technology
Participant Information Letter

Eastern States Expo - The Big E

For those exhibits/presentations chosen to represent VT at the Big E, a mandatory orientation/info session is required. This is typically held in July to get you ready, help with required paperwork, and give you a better picture of what is expected of you when bringing a group to ESE. It is very important that you, or a co-leader with whom you regularly communicate, attend this session. VT fills the New England Center on the first Sunday and Monday of the Fair, and is expected to arrive by the evening of the first Saturday, for an onsite orientation.

Because of the large scale of this event and often, multiple members making up one presentation or exhibit, most communication is directed at the 4-H Leader identified as the point of contact. We are doing our best to ensure that all parents and co-leaders have the information, but there may be times where this is not possible. Please be sure to check our website thoroughly, communicate with your club leaders, and feel free to call the State 4-H Office for questions at 1-800-571-0668.

Other information about Eastern States can be found by viewing their website at - click on agriculture and then 4-H. (The Big E also offers a biennial scholarship (in odd years) opportunity to one Vermont 4-H youth who has participated at Eastern States each year. See the 2013 application and eligibility criteria.)

Last modified January 17 2018 11:14 AM