Billy Larson, 11, Astico Perseverance 4-H Club, exhibits in the 4-H farm-scene project and, this year, decided to incorporate that project with his love of history. “I really like war history, specifically, and I have a bunch of books about it,” noted Larson. His farm-scene display is a compilation of many different civil war features. “It’s not a real battle; I thought up this idea myself.”

It takes a lot of time and patience to put together a farm scene fit for a judge. “I didn’t keep track of the time, but I’d say it took about two or three weeks to put my project together,” said Larson. “First I started with a styrofoam base, then we cut it down to the right size.” Larson’s parents helped him with the more complicated details of his project. “We cut another piece of styrofoam in the shape of a hill and glued it down. I poured paint down the hill and painted sawdust to look like grass. The cotton field is also made from sawdust, but painted a darker color green.”

Once Larson had his base complete, he started on the civil-war-period farm buildings. “To make the house, we cut styrofoam in the shape of a house, glued crafting sticks to it, and painted it. I cut out paper for the windows.” The barn was done in much the same way. “Then I added trees I purchased from Hobby Lobby, used epoxy to create a river, and built bridges for the cattle to cross over the river.”

“The barricades were built with sticks I found in the yard. When that was done, my display looked like a farm; then I added the soldiers.” Larson used stick pins and glue to attach his animals, trees, and soldiers to his display.

The judge was very impressed with Larson’s presentation; he received a blue ribbon and special merit award. “The judge liked how my display had lots of action and realism,” said Larson. “I learn so much from the farm-scene project. For example, I’ve learned how to make a good diorama and put together buildings. I’ve also learned how to make terrain, grass, and much more.”

Larson already has plans for his farm scene next year. “I’m still thinking about it, but I may do something on WWll and the Battle of Kursk. It was the biggest tank battle in WWll.”

To see the extensive display of farm scenes at the Dodge County Fair, visit the youth building. They’re against the back wall.

The Dodge County Fair continues through Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018. Visit for more information.

Written by Dori Lichty — farm wife, 4-H Mom, and full-time communicator