Fair Superintendent Information

Serving as a Fair Superintendent is a very important job as your work not only ensures that our youth’s exhibits are judged fairly and displayed appropriately, but also makes it possible for our Fair to receive necessary financial support from the State.

The purpose of this webpage is assist you in better understanding your responsibilities as a Superintendent. Whether you are a veteran Superintendent or this is your first opportunity, you can find resources here to strengthen your skills!


A Superintendent’s Role is Important

  • The Fair Association needs volunteers like you for a successful and profitable fair! You are the face of the Fair for youth, parents, community members and visitors. Thank you.
  • Fairs are given state aid to pay premiums. Each judging sheet is audited at the office of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. Mistakes that are made on judging sheets are subtracted from the total aid to be paid to this fair.  Therefore, your job in completing the Judge’s Sheet is extremely important!

Fair Judging Glossary for Superintendents

  • Affidavit – This is a document the judge signs to validate his or her judging for each department and class. Click here to view an example of a Judges Affidavit.
  • Department – The Largest sections of division of Fair entries that categorizes entries into groups of similar items i.e. Department 1: Junior Fair Dairy.
  • Class -A smaller section then departments, in which group’s together entries into a uniform area for judging i.e.  Class A: Heifer Calf Spring Registered.
  • Lot – A specific area of entry that clearly defines the parameters of an entry i.e. lot 1 Ayrshire.
  • Entry Tag – Square document attached to each exhibit that identifies exhibitor by name and number. Also provides description of the exhibit’s department, class and lot.
  • Exhibit – An exhibit is the item or “project” an exhibitor enters in the fair.
  • Exhibitor – The young person or adult who enters and exhibits at the fair.
  • Exhibitor Number – A number assigned to each exhibitor for judging purposes. The exhibitor maintains the same number throughout their career at the fair.
  • FairEntry – The online software that is utilized with barcode scanners to coordinate exhibit check-in and judging.
  • Judge – A certified individual by DATCP and hired by the Fair Association to provide quality evaluation and feedback in certain departments.
  • Judge’s Worksheet – Set of documents printed on duplicate to record placings and audited by the State after the fair.
  • Merit – A special ribbon (no premium) awarded by the judge to high quality exhibits. A guideline is that one in ten exhibits, or ten percent, should recieve a merit.
  • Premium – The dollar amount recieved for placing at the fair. Premium checks are presented in late fall.
  • Reserve Ribbon – Second highest special award given by the Judge in most departments.
  • Superintendent – Volunteer invited by the Fair Association to provide leadership for certain department before, during and after the fair.
  • Trophy – Top special award given by the Judge in most departments. (No premium.)

Fair Superintendent Responsibilities

Exhibit Check-In
  • Before the fair, check over your display area and assist with preparing the area for public display.
  • Assist in putting up cards used to locate the display areas for each class.
  • On Entry Day, be available to assist exhibitors in checking in their exhibits with the barcode scanner and placing their entries in the designated area.
  • Prior to Judging, check exhibits carefully to verify that they have been placed in the proper area according to Department, Class & Lot. This reduces confusion and chance of missed exhibits at time of judging.
  • On the day of Judging, make plans to check in at the Fair Office well before judging is scheduled to begin so any last minute details can be explained to you, and so we may answer any questions you may have.
  • Review the barcode judge’s sheets to identify checked in items versus no show items.
  • Check entry tags to be sure they correspond with the entries on the judge’s sheet.
  • Make sure you have available ribbons, pencils, pens, writing pads and any awards that will be given on the day of judging. The Fair Secretary will assist you.
  • Make sure you have available a Danish Judging sheet. Be familiar with both the Regular and Danish Judging system.
  • With the help of your assistants for the department, bring the articles in each class to the judging table. In the case of animal classes, announce the class to be judged next, allowing the exhibitor time to have his/her animal ready when their class begins.
  •  Inform the judge of the number of entries in each class and the correct number of placing’s under the Danish System.
  • DO NOT discuss entries with the judge, but answer questions that the judge asks about each class. The superintendent is not the judge.
  • Assist with placing ribbons, writing the judge’s comments, and recording the placing’s on the Judge’s Sheets.
  • Assist your helpers in using the barcode scanner to record the results for each exhibit.
  • Be sure the judge is comfortable. There is water available for the judges in the Fair Office.
  • Never change the judge’s sheet or the results in the software program without the judge being present. If errors or changes are made on the judging sheets, have the judge initial the change.
  • When all the classes and lots are judged, be sure to see that the judge selects all the awards for your department. Refer to the Awards Sheets and Criteria for Award Selection sheet for more information specific to your department. Be sure to mark the judge’s award decisions and selections on the appropriate Awards sheet and attach the merit ribbons and/or State Fair selection tags to the exhibits.
  • Once the judging is completed, escort the judge to the Fair Office to sign the affidavit and to be paid for the day’s judging. This affidavit is important because State Aid will not be paid on judging sheets not accompanied by a signed affidavit.
  • Check the judging sheets in with the Fair Secretary. Make note of any unusual entries or situations that may need the Fair Secretary’s attention.
Exhibit Display
  • After judging, see that all entries are neatly arranged in the appropriate display area.
  • Make sure you can see all the exhibits and they are safe.
  • Place delicate exhibits far from reach of small or curious Fairgoers.
  • Treat all the exhibits with respect. Remember these are youth’s hard work exhibited
Complete Superintendent’s Survey
  • Make note of and put in writing any suggestions or ideas for improving the placing of entries, the judging procedure, the recording of placing’s and release of entries (anything that will make the process more efficient) on the Superintendent’s Survey. Give this to the Extension Staff in the Fair Office.
Exhibit Release
  • Supervise the release of entries.
  • Be sure that exhibits are released to their proper owner/exhibitor.
  • No entries should be released before 4 p.m. on Sunday without the consent of the Fair Secretary or the 4-H Agent.

Types of Judging at the Fair

Materials in the Superintendent/Judge’s Box

Each Department of the Fair has a box with superintendent and judges materials for completing judge’s evaluation. In this box a Superintendent will find:

  • iPad, Barcode Scanner, Ribbon Barcodes and laminated instructions for use
  • Fair Ribbons (Blue, Red, White, Pink & Green Merit)
  • Staplers and Extra Staples – Used to staple ribbon backs onto exhibitor tags not covering exhibitor names
  • Copy of the Fair Premium Book for Department to Be Judged
  • Judge’s Worksheets
  • Danish Judging Guidelines
  • Criteria for Award Selection Handout – Guidelines to follow for awarding merits, trophies and other special awards
  • Special Awards Sheet – Use in recording exhibitor name and number receiving special awards in each department
  • Food Coupons for the Buffalo County 4-H Leaders Food Stand for Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents (Helpers) and Judges
  • Water for Superintendents and Judges
  • Additional Supplies Needed Specific to each Department (e.g. wet wipes for Foods & Nutrition)

Throughout the course of Judging, if you need additional materials please visit the Fair Office window.

Completing the Judge’s Worksheets


Utilizing FairEntry Software


Requesting Assistance

Throughout your Superintendent experience, if you need assistance please come to the Buffalo County Fair Office window and request help. Buffalo County Fair Association and UW-Extension staff are eager to assist you in making the Buffalo County Fair an educational and enjoyable experience for all. It is not expected that you can complete all Superintendent responsibilities and expectations without questions and support.

Tips from Veteran Superintendents

  • Participate in the Superintendent Training offered by UW-Extension as it is a great opportunity to ask questions and practice hands-on.
  • Try to stop by your department on the first day of the fair and ensure exhibits are displayed appropriately in the proper class and lot.
  • Arrive early on the day of judging so you can prepare the judging area and welcome the judge.
  • If you do not know what to do – ASK a one of the UW-Extension staff. It is a lot better to get your question answered than try to correct mistakes after judging.
  • Start out your experience with judge by asking them how they prefer to work and letting them know the amount of exhibits to be judged in the estimated time.
  • Keep “starred” exhibits, or exhibits that will be considered for merit and special awards, to the side to help the judging process at the end of each class or department.

For more tips, please review helpful hints for superintendents.