HICKSVILLE — After voting to cancel the Defiance County Fair on July 24 due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defiance County Fair Board has been working on a plan to host a junior fair for county youth to sell their livestock.
On Monday evening, the board met with a group of more than 125 people at the Defiance County Fairgrounds here, before voting to approve a Defiance County Junior Fair to be held at the fairgrounds, Aug. 21-28.
Jerry Sanders, president of the Defiance County Fair Board, explained Monday’s meeting was very positive, with several youth and adults that spoke to the board about the importance of having a junior fair.
“Addiston Vetter, 4-H member of the Hicksville Herdsmen 4-H Club gave a speech on what 4-H means to her, what she has learned from taking livestock projects and why the fair board should vote yes to let the kids show,” said Sanders. “The Fairview FFA officer team was also present and president Clair Shininger and vice president Cassie Mavis talked about the valuable lessons learned and the hard work that goes into a livestock project.
“In addition, three to four other people spoke about wanting us to have the junior fair,” continued Sanders. “It was a very good, positive meeting. At the same time, we as a board made it very clear that even though we decided to move forward with this, if conditions get worse, this is not a for-sure thing. It won’t be us to make that decision, that decision will be made by the (Defiance County) health department.”
Sanders gave credit to the health department for working with the fair board to come up with guidelines so that a junior fair can be held.
A press release about the junior fair stated the new plan was presented by the livestock committee for youth exhibitors to show their livestock projects and participate in the livestock sale.
The schedule is as follows:
• Aug. 21 — Royalty, TBA.
• Aug. 22 — Rabbits, check-in from 7-10 a.m., show at noon.
• Aug. 23 — Poultry, check-in from 8-10 a.m., show at noon. Swine, check-in from 8-10 a.m., show at 3 p.m.
• Aug. 24 — Beef, check-in from 7-10 a.m., show at noon. Feeder calf sale, immediately following beef show. Goats, check-in from 7-10 a.m., show at noon.
• Aug. 25 — Sheep, check-in from 8-10 a.m., show at noon.
• Aug. 26 — Horses, check-in from 8-10 a.m., show at noon.
• Aug. 27 — Dogs, show at noon.
• Aug. 28 — Livestock sale begins at 9 a.m.
The plan for the junior fair includes:
General — Ohio guidelines for social distancing and masks will be in place; Ohio fair curfew of 10 p.m. will be in place; and hand-sanitizing stations will be available in the barns and show arenas.
Eliminated — No open shows, extra events, exhibits or activities; no camping; and no gate activity.
Royalty — The junior fair queen and court has been selected, and a recognition program for the court and immediate family will be held.
Livestock shows — Class sizes will be limited to 10 exhibitors; participants, spectators and judges will be asked to maintain a distance of six feet from each other; the fair board is working to provide live streaming of the livestock show; a limited number of wristbands will be distributed for each day (different color each day); and only those with a wristband will be permitted in the show arenas.
Livestock sale — To be held in the grandstand, the exhibitor only (no animals) will be at the sale; exhibitors must show in a junior fair livestock market class to be eligible for the livestock sale.
Feeder calf auction — The auction will be held immediately after the beef show; buyer must be prepared to pay and take animal; no buyer’s lunch; maintain social distancing at sale check-out, utilize touch-free/contact-less payment options when possible, or invoice buyer; add-ons will be accepted on sale day, but not immediately processed; add-on invoices/receipts will be sent the following week; new this year, an online, add-on platform will be open Aug. 26-Sept. 16 for buyers to place individual exhibitor add-ons via a website; the platform will have a list of 2020 junior fair market animal exhibitors only; animals are not available for purchase by buyer.
Parking — All spectators will park on the grandstand-side of the fairgrounds in a designated parking lot; no entry at the livestock gate unless otherwise directed to do so for a show; judges will be permitted at the livestock gate; buyers on sale day will be permitted to come through the grandstand entrance and then park on the infield; parking for livestock trailers on day of show will be announced at a later date.
“We want people to understand that you’re not going to be able to just come to the fair to watch somebody show,” said Sanders. “There will be a limited amount of wristbands, the family will be able to give those to whom they want, and those will be the people allowed in the fairgrounds.
“What’s most important to us is that we have the opportunity to help the kids,” added Sanders. “We (the board) would like to thank Teresa Johnson (educator, 4-H Youth Development for the Ohio State University Extension of Defiance County), for all her hard work on this and for sticking with it.”
The board announced following Monday’s meeting that campers who had lots reserved for the 2020 Defiance County Fair, those reservations will be rolled over into 2021. Any camper who would like to cancel for 2021 can call 419-438-5487.
The deadline to cancel is Sept. 15.