Larimer County Fair is on for August 2020!
By Katie Harris
After months of uncertainty, a decision was reached earlier this month, and Larimer County Fair will take place as scheduled in 2020!
Despite restrictions on large gatherings and a makeshift hospital occupying much of The Ranch Events Complex, Larimer County CSU Extension and The Ranch have found a way to hold the event this summer, with a few significant modifications.
In an effort to maximize the limited space available this year at the venue, all Open Class Competitions have been canceled. 4-H exhibits will be showcased and judged, but some projects will be exhibited virtually.
Livestock exhibits will also be part of fair this year, but will likely be spread out across a wider range of dates to encourage social distancing.
According to a June 1 email from Larimer County CSU Extension Office Director Kerri Rollins, limited, in-person livestock shows will be allowed with a maximum of 50 people, per the current county guidelines.
“While the Open Class Competition is canceled for 2020, the fair is not canceled — it’s just happening in a different way this year due to COVID-19,” said Larimer County Commissioner Tom Donnelly in a June 2 press release.
Logann and Bowyn Caudill, members of Sagebrush Riders 4-H Club in Berthoud, were relieved to hear that fair would take place after all.
“We haven’t known what to expect or what fair would look like this year because it keeps changing,” said 12-year-old Logann. “It’s been confusing and it’s been hard to get motivated.”
Ten-year-old Bowyn said, between the transition to virtual 4-H meetings and canceled practices for his shooting sports project these past few months, he feels like he’s gotten behind.
Now that fair’s officially a go, the two said they have some work to do to make up lost ground on their projects.
“Now that there’s going to be fair I’m more motivated to get started,” said Logann, who competes in the horse project. “My goal earlier in the year was to find a good horse I can use and level up, so now I have to get back to work on that.”
Of course, exhibiting their projects is just one aspect of the fair experience for 4-H kids. After the hard work is done, and judging is out of the way, it’s time to enjoy everything fair has to offer. Or at least that’s how it works in typical years.
“My favorite part of fair is getting to walk around and see all the different horses,” said Logann, who’s been in 4-H for four years.
For Bowyn, hanging out with friends and riding the carnival rides is what fair’s all about.
“I’m expecting that there might not be any rides this year because that would be a lot of people touching things, but I’m hoping they might still have a few,” he said.
Logann said she’s trying to set realistic expectations for fair this year, realizing it might be smaller than usual, and perhaps a little less organized, but said she plans to make the best of it.
“Next year will be better and more normal,” she said. “It’s been a hard year—a learning curve. It’s been a chance for me to train for different things so next year I’ll have new tools in my toolbox.”
While the Larimer County CSU Extension Office and The Ranch are still in the process of gathering information, collecting input and discussing options to make a final determination on what fair will look like this year, the fact that it will take place at all stands as a beacon of hope for 4-H’ers and the community that some sense of normalcy may indeed return to Larimer County this summer.
“I’m so pleased we’ve found a way to accommodate these components of our county fair,” said Donnelly in the June 2 press release. “It’s important to us to be able to proceed as normal as possible even in these abnormal times. These kids deserve to show their projects, even if in a limited capacity.”
For Logann, Bowyn and their fellow 4-H’ers, getting to show their projects at all is a win.
“Just getting to do something with my horse will be fun,” said Logann. “Getting a horse ready for fair, the adrenaline before the show, those are the things I look forward to.”
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