Putnam County Fair announces in-person fair for 4-H families
The Putnam County 4-H Fair will be a live, in-person fair, though attendance at the fair will primarily be only 4-H families and volunteers, it was announced Thursday.
Any 4-H member with concerns of coming to the fair will have the option to submit projects virtually in 2020.
“We want to provide you with a rough schedule outline so 4-H families can prepare,” 4-H Extension Educator Mark Evans said. “Please be patient as we work out the finer details.
“Please know that we will be ready to move to a virtual event should a COVID-19 local hotspot develop or should Putnam County not be at Gov. Holcomb’s Indiana Back on Track plan Level 5 status.”
Though there will be an in-person fair, it will look very different and will be primarily focused on achieving the opportunity to provide 4-H’ers with an exhibition activity. The fair’s practices and procedures will seek to follow CDC guidance, Indiana’s Back on Track plan and Purdue University’s guidelines applied to fairs.
While there are many opinions and thoughts on the subject of COVID-19 and how society should respond, please know that the following decisions were not taken lightly, Evans said. All parties involved considered the core purpose for the 4-H county fair while conducting the decision-making process.
The following are key points related to the 4-H schedule and events:
-- July 17-24 will continue to be the dates for the Putnam County Fair. However, some events that typically occur during this window may be moved later to accommodate social distancing and provide make up time for educational activities (possibilities include ATV driving competition, archery competitive shoot, etc.).
-- Livestock shows will continue on their typical days with the exception of beef and swine. The beef show will be on Monday, July 20 and the swine show will be on Tuesday, July 21. The horse and pony shows will be Sunday, July 19, Tuesday, July 21 and Wednesday, July 22. Each species project area will receive more detailed info with specific times and possible entry limit changes.
-- No livestock will be penned overnight, meaning all livestock will arrive, be exhibited and go home on the same day. Shows will be streamlined such that there will be no end-of-day grand drives. For example, in sheep, the breeding stock show will occur along with its grand drive being completed so individuals only competing with breed stock can go home prior to the start of the market lamb show and its subsequent grand drive.
-- All 4-H exhibit hall projects will be done via drive by drop-off over several days. With the exception of food-related projects that will need to be dropped off on the day of judging, families are encouraged to drop off all projects at one time. All project judging will be done in a “closed” format rather than the traditional open judging format. New details will be sent directly to all exhibit hall project members.
-- All 4-H’ers, 4-H volunteers and staff must wear face coverings when engaged in 4-H activities at fair events. Social distancing and contact tracing will also be required. Therefore, limits will be placed on the number of individuals within buildings viewing events. For example, there will not be seating in the indoor arena and limited entrance to the York Automotive Exhibit Hall for viewing of 4-H projects.
·- The Thursday evening highlight of Supreme Showmanship will occur with a limited viewing audience. It is hoped that this event as well as most of the livestock shows will be live streamed thanks to Endeavor Communications who has been streaming and posting these events in recent years.
-- There will be no live 4-H livestock auction in 2020, however the Fair Board is currently looking at alternative solutions.
-- Camping will be available for any 4-H families who wish to camp and stay at the fairgrounds. If you already have a paid camping reservation and wish to cancel, contact Heather Woodall to be reimbursed.
·- The plan is to have a few food vendors for the 4-H families who are onsite during the day.
·- There will be no weekly gate passes or daily entry fees. Again, it is stressed that this year’s event is for 4-H families to show rather than a public display.
The following is information about Putnam County fair events unrelated to 4-H in 2020:
-- There will not be a carnival or commercial tent.
-- Special events like the fair parade, baby contest, truck pulls, antique tractor show, bands, concerts have been postponed to 2021.
-- Cheerleading contest is postponed.
-- The queen contest is still on, however the contest will be open only for participant’s families and sponsors.
-- Adult Open Class has postponed all entries until 2021.
-- Harris Hall is still to be determined with entries and its Little Sprouts program.
The Purdue Extension Putnam County staff appreciates the cooperation of the Putnam County Fair Board and 4-H Council in making an in-person fair possible.
“While not everyone may agree with the decisions, let’s celebrate the fact that these 4-H youth can at least participate via in person competition to share and learn,” Evans said. “Every year, 4-H builds life skills providing challenges to overcome and achieve. This year is an excellent opportunity to teach youth to persevere in tough times."