HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Due to the coronavirus, the 2020 Howard County Fair has been cancelled. The board of directors will be hosting virtual events for 4-H members and still plans to hold the youth livestock sale with numerous precautions in place.
Mickey Day, president of the Howard County Fair Board, explained on the fair’s website that board members met more often and formed committees to see if they could somehow proceed with the fair. Eventually, they realized that the event as a whole could not be safely held.
“As time passed, multiple possibilities and options were presented to the larger board on how to best to proceed. While I do not believe any of us wanted to execute our new possible plans, we could see that the virus was not going away and that we had to prepare for it,” Day wrote.
Howard County fair board members remained in contact with its 4-H partners, then June 15, the University of Maryland Extension decided there would not be any in-person activities with 4-H members thru the month of August.
“While this was disappointing news, most of us saw this coming. This enabled the board to better focus on the task as at hand for us as an organization,” Day noted. “Valuing the importance of our youth, and a particular interest in the 4-H and FFA members of Howard County, the fair board decided to execute one of the options we had been discussing. We would hold a youth livestock show for the youth that had registered projects with the Howard County 4-H and/or FFA program.”
There will be a series of one-day livestock shows that limits the number of youth participants and animals at the fairgrounds at any given time. A virtual platform will highlight the youth with projects other than livestock so that their projects also can be judged.
“Research was done to explore ways in which we could keep our visitors safe among the large crowds that often attend our fair. After a great deal of heartfelt discussion, it was the unanimous decision of the fair board to not hold any of the other traditional activities that normally happen at our fair. This was a difficult decision to make, especially as this would have been our 75th annual Howard County Fair. Regardless, we all knew this was the right decision,” Day wrote.
Online registration for the youth livestock shows will close July 20 and registration for the virtual 4-H indoor entries will close Aug. 1. Virtual 4-H indoor entries require youth to upload pictures and/or a video of their project. The virtual livestock auction will be held Aug. 13-14 and is being organized by The Wendt Group. Bidders 18 and older are eligible to participate.
This article originally appeared on the Ellicott City Patch