Northwest Iowa — It will be a different year for county fairs across northwest Iowa due to the pandemic.
Fair boards have told us that they want to give 4-H and FFA kids the same chance that they always have to compete and be honored, but COVID-19 is causing them to do some things very differently.
Sioux County Fair Board Vice President Cody Leusink tells us about it.
(as said:) “In order to keep our visitors and fair family safe, the Sioux County Fair Board has made the difficult decision to cancel all grounds entertainment for the 2020 Sioux County Youth Fair. While the Rodeo, Greased Pig, and other events are canceled, we still want to uphold our mission of providing 4-H and family members with opportunities to showcase their talents, accomplishments, and hard work that they have been putting into their projects all year.”
Each fair has some specific changes for exhibitors, and we encourage you to contact your local Extension office or FFA chapter if you need more information.
Sioux County Fair Princess Maggie Kats tells us about the non-livestock exhibits at the Sioux County Fair this year.
(as said:) “We know our 4-H’ers are not only working with livestock, but are also creating static, communication, and fashion exhibits. For 2020 we will be doing the static judging State Fair style. This means the exhibitors will drop off their projects and go sheets at the exhibit building on announced date and time. The judges will come the following day to score the projects, 100% based off of quality and write-ups. Communications and fashion will have more information announced later.”
Sioux County Fair Board President Craig DeHaan says they appreciate your patience, as they know it’s difficult to hear.
(as said:) “We would like to thank everyone for their patience, flexibility, and support during this difficult time. We’d like nothing more than to see the fairgrounds bustling with people in the middle of July. But we find it best to stick with the recommendations coming from our governor, Iowa 4-H, and the Association of Iowa Fairs. While these restrictions sound limiting, we are committed to monitoring the situation with the help of public health and other partners to stay relevant with this situation. If the COVID situation changes in the state of Iowa, the Sioux County Fair has potential for change as well.”
There are similar-sounding messages from other area fairs.
The O’Brien County Fair Board says that after much discussion and deliberation, they have voted to move forward with a Youth 4-H and FFA fair only. The livestock shows will be held in a “show & go” format with more details to follow. The non-livestock/static exhibits will be shown in a similar manner to that used by the Iowa State Fair. More details will be provided on this also. There will be no entertainment (this includes the Tuesday youth activities), open class exhibitors, or commercial exhibitors. O’Brien County Fair officials also advise that due to licensing restrictions (no temporary food licenses are being issued by the state at this time), they will be unable to have the customary food court. They say they are deeply sorry about this but must follow the current guidelines of the state. They tell us that a determination regarding the fair races will be made by the Primghar Jaycees.
Osceola County Fair Board officials tell us that their fair too, sadly, won’t be quite the same this year. They say that the Fair Board, with help from Osceola County Extension, have come up with a plan. They will be having all livestock events in a show-and-go fashion. They say there will be no grandstand events during the 2020 Fair. The Osceola County Fair Board wants to thank everyone for their ongoing support for the fair and they say, “We can’t wait to hopefully bring you all events again in 2021.”
The Lyon County Fair Board tells us they will be canceling all non-youth fair activities for the 2020 Lyon County Fair, with the exception of the races that will be held in the grandstand. The commercial building will be closed. 4-H and FFA livestock shows will be a show-and-go format with the wash rack facilities being closed. Static judging will be State Fair style with no conference judging taking place. All youth activities will follow the guidelines from the Iowa State Extension Service. More youth information and schedules will be released in the upcoming weeks. The Lyon County Fair Board tells us they will adhere to health guidelines set forth by local, state, and federal authorities at the time of the fair, beginning on July 20, 2020.