Ponies, Prizes, and Pierogies: MWW Road Trip to the New Jersey State Fair


Last Friday, intern Jeremy and I traveled to the New Jersey
State Fair “Sussex County Farm and Horse Show” to take stock of geographic action
in the Garden State.

What a trip. After no less than four years as a budding
geographer, it never ceases to amaze me how frequently geographic “lessons”
crop up–even when traveling short distances.

Geography Lesson #1:
Geography is….Fun!
If you’ve been reading the blog or our newsletters recently,
you know all about the 4-H-
MWW partnership
at state and county fairs this summer and fall. MWW, along
with the GIS software developer ESRI,
is supporting 4-H students using the tools and techniques of geography to
benefit their communities. Each 4-H group takes their own approach to incorporating
geographic connections into their annual activities and local fair presence.

The culminating event of the New Jersey State Fair was the
“geography bowl,” a spirited, family-friendly competition. All participants
received My Wonderful World t-shirts, and two youth and adult winners went home
with National Geographic atlases, humbly presented by Yours Truly J
(well actually, we had to find an alternate prize for the adult winner, an avid
world traveler and National Geographic consumer who claimed to own both of the
atlases and subscribe to multiple National Geographic magazines). By far the
most gratifying part of the evening, though, was the enthusiasm and curiosity
exhibited by contestants and audience members as they sought the correct
answers. Excellent job all!

Geography Lesson #2:
New Jersey really is the Garden State.
Or at least a Garden State.
Or, there are substantial parts of the state with farmland and gardens. This is
often lost to those of us whose experience with New Jerseyis primarily relegated to driving
through on the Thruway or strolling along the boardwalk by the “shore.” Sussex County,
located northwest of New York City,
is a bucolic, verdant agricultural region—perfect site for the state

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