Little food scientists eagerly showed off their knowledge of where their food comes from at the Johnson County fair on Monday.

“What food group is chicken in?” Johnson County Extension Educator Sarah Hanson asked the group of preschoolers.

Most of the kids called out with a resounding, “meat!” but a few guessed fruit or grain.

The kids were participating in the annual RT2: Read, Taste, and Touch program, which promotes literacy, nutrition and agriculture for both parents and children. The preschool program is going on daily through Friday at the Johnson County 4-H and Agricultural Fair.

Story continues below gallery

Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

Every day a different book is featured. Monday’s group listened to “Old Dry Frye: A Deliciously Tall Tale,” by Paul Brett Johnson, which follows the adventure of Old Dry Frye who loves fried chicken. Frye also rode a horse in the book, so kids got to make a horse craft and see real horses at the fair.

“Being able to connect with animals is what makes it real for them,” Hanson said. “And I’m always surprised to see how much of what they pick up with the story.”

The program is an extension of a parent-child RT2 book club run by the extension office that encourages kids to become engaged with both storytelling and agriculture through reading.

Crystal Brodhacker brought her daughter, Cora, 4, to the program on Monday, knowing it would be a great educational opportunity.

“It’s always fun to learn through play,” Brodhacker said.

Cora said she really liked the story, too. The storytelling aspect helps teach reading comprehension and gets the kids more involved, Brodhacker said.

Nancy Vassar brought her granddaughter, Madelyn Osborne, 6.

Vassar enjoys taking Osborne to the fair every year, because she loves to see all the animals — especially horses — but also learning about them.

“She just loves the animals,” Vassar said. “The 4-H kids are fantastic with the little kids, educating them about the animals and what it takes to care for them.”

The lessons on agriculture and nutrition are also priceless — especially for today’s kids, Vassar said. RT2 is showing them nutritional lessons they can use for life, she said.

“It’s too easy to give kids hot dogs and fast food all the time,” she said.

If you go

RT2 is being offered 10 to 11 a.m. through Friday in Heritage Hall on the northeast end of the Johnson County fairgrounds, just south of the Purdue Extension Johnson County office.

What: Every day a different book will be featured with the goal of promoting reading, good nutrition and agriculture awareness to young children. The children will participate in story time with themed snacks and science or craft projects.

The participants will also receive for one year an RT2 Activity Newsletter.

Cost: The program is free, but space is limited to the first 30 registrants. Children may attend one, two or all five days. Contact the extension office at 317-736-3724 to register.

If you go

Today at the fair:

Tuesday, July 18

9 a.m. — 4-H Beef Grooming Contest; 4-H Beef Showmanship; 4-H Born and Raised Steer Show; 4-H Beef Heifer Show (Indoor Arena, south End)

9 a.m. — 4-H Sheep Breeding Stock Show; Breeding stock showmanship: Jr. – Intermediate – Senior (Indoor Arena, north end)

Half-hour lunch break after breeding stock showmanship

Showmanship competition: Market Lamb and Breeding Stock (all divisions); Born and Raised Market Lambs; 4-H Supreme Ram & Ewe (Indoor Arena, north end)

10 a.m. — RT2 (Read, Touch, Taste) for children ages 5-7 (Heritage Hall)

11:30 a.m. — 4-H & Open Class exhibits open to the public

12-12:45 p.m. — Banana Baking Contest entry (Johnson County Extension Office)

1-5 p.m. — Poor Jack Amusements Kiddies Day on the Midway, unlimited bracelet $15

1 p.m. — Banana Baking Contest judging (Johnson County Extension Office); sponsored by Johnson County Extension Homemakers

1 p.m. — 4-H Sheep Born and Raised Show; 4-H Overall Sheep Showmanship (Indoor Arena, north end)

4 p.m. — 4-H Swine Born and Bred Show; 4-H Swine Gilt Show (Indoor Arena, north end)

4-6 p.m. — Robotics Club demonstration (Magill Hall); sponsored by Duke Energy

5-8 p.m. — Cooking demonstrations (Farm Bureau Building)

5 p.m. — Goat Pee-Wee Showmanship; 4-H Wethers Goat Judging; 4-H Goat Showmanship – Overall Senior Champion (Indoor Arena, south end)

5 p.m. — 4-H Horse & Pony – Costume & Musical Freestyle (Horse Arena)

6 p.m. — Registration for Pedal Tractor Pull; $1/child, maximum weight is 85 pounds.

6:15-7 p.m. — Free Stage: Dumpster Drummers presented by Johnson County Recycling District

7 p.m. — Pedal Tractor Pull (Farm Bureau back lot)

7 p.m. — Horseshoe Pitching (west of the Fair Office)

7 p.m. — Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Truck & Tractor Pull (Grandstands); admission: $10/adults, $5/kids 12 & under

7 p.m. — Cash drawing at the day sponsor booth (Herring Hall entrance); must be present to win

7:30-9:30 p.m. — Free Stage: Stillwell & Owens

Author photo
Anna Herkamp is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2712.