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Happy 100th Birthday, 4-H: New Mexico's Party Features 4-H Centennial Celebration Train, Showcase on April 27

LAS CRUCES - New Mexicans will celebrate 4-H's 100th birthday on April 27 with a Centennial Celebration Train ride from Santa Fe to Lamy for 240 invited passengers and a public 4-H Showcase with musical talent and a giant birthday cake at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds.


At 10 a.m., 4-H members, alumni and supporters will hold a public send-off for a chartered Santa Fe Southern train at the railway station at 401 S. Guadalupe St., a quarter mile west of the state capitol in Santa Fe. The event will feature speakers and a reading of the governor's proclamation for 4-H Youth Development Centennial Celebration Day.

"We're encouraging people to wear old-fashioned clothes or 4-H green," said Darlene Dickson, event chair and state 4-H specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. Collegiate 4-H members from NMSU will provide handmade green armbands for participants.

The bunting-draped train will include a diesel locomotive, domed car and caboose. Passengers will make a round-trip to Lamy, 17 miles southeast of Santa Fe, traveling along a 120-year-old railroad spur. Because of limited space, the ride is by invitation only, though all are welcome to attend the send-off and evening 4-H Showcase, Dickson said.

The train is reminiscent of the demonstration trains that crisscrossed New Mexico 90 years ago to introduce the Cooperative Extension Service and its 4-H program. More than 10 percent of the state's population turned out in 1912 to see agricultural demonstrations and learn how to start youth clubs. The clubs were later named 4-H for their focus on developing members' heads, hearts, hands and health.

Today, New Mexico has about 50,000 4-H members and Extension offices in every New Mexico county. 4-H helps kids 5 to 19 to learn by doing hands-on projects ranging from livestock and baking to photography and model rocketry.

"We thought the train would be a way to reeanact a bit of 4-H's 90-year history in New Mexico and celebrate the national 4-H centennial," Dickson said. "We're using celebration events to look at 4-H's past, present and future. We've held 4-H Centennial Conversations in New Mexico and across the country to brainstorm ideas for youth development programs in the future."

Passengers will disembark in Lamy for 90 minutes to eat lunch, view displays of 4-H memorabilia and watch live demonstrations by Extension specialists and 4-H members. Heather Stumpff, a 4-H member from Santa Fe, will wear vintage clothes to re-create a 4-H foods demonstration she saw in a historic photo. Stevan Pearce, a National 4-H Hall of Fame inductee from Hobbs, will be recognized.

Tickets for the catered lunch of brisket and pork strips cost $7.50 and must be purchased from the State 4-H Office by April 19.

A launch of green, helium-filled balloons with returnable cards to trace their travels will
wrap up the Lamy events. The train will return to Santa Fe at about 4 p.m.

At 7 p.m., a 4-H Centennial Showcase at the Exhibit Hall on the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds, 3229 Rodeo Road, will feature 4-H members' musical talent. Afterward, guests can enjoy a three-tiered 4-H birthday cake and a dance.

For more information about 4-H Centennial Celebration events, contact Dickson at (505) 646-1166.