The Eastern Michigan State Fair board has dropped their requirement that exhibitors be affiliated with 4-H to register for the 2020 fair. That means youth can still show animals and enter projects even though the state’s 4-H program has postponed all in-person programming through Sept. 1.

4-H cancels programs; youth can still
enter projects and show animals

TRI-CITY AREA — Earlier this month, Michigan State University Extension opted to postpone all face-to-face youth events managed by Extension and Michigan 4-H until September 1 due to the current pandemic.

“While this is a heartbreaking decision for us and the community, our first obligation is to safeguard the health and well-being of staff members and all of those associated with our work, including 4-Hers and volunteers. We will continue to work with local entities, including fair boards and livestock councils, with whom we partner throughout the state to determine solutions,” said Extension leaders Jeff Dwyer and Amy Bonomi.

Lapeer County 4-H Program Coordinator Kathy George said that the decision means 4-H club members can’t meet in person but, for the time being, youth can still participate in fairs.

In a Facebook post, the Eastern Michigan State Fair said “While we cannot predict what state the country will be in when fair time rolls around, rest assured if we can hold the fair we will.”

The fair board has decided to make some changes to the 2020 event, slated for July 28-August 1, including waving the $10 project registration fee and dropping the requirement for exhibitors to be affiliated with 4-H to register for the fair. Those families who choose to camp on site during the event can register as usual but they won’t need to pay in advance.

“We will continue to work hard to ensure a successful fair for everyone. We are also discussing a Plan B just in case we are unable to hold the fair this year,” the post said.

Leaders of the St. Clair County 4-H and Youth Fair said they too are forging ahead with plans for their July 20-25 event while also considering alternatives.

“The fair board is continuing to plan for the 2020 fair. We are getting all of the pieces in place to have another great year. With the uncertain health concerns throughout the country, we are also looking at backup plans should we need to modify how we conduct the fair. We have the advantage that many fairs throughout the country did not have and that is time to prepare those alternatives,” the fair said in a statement posted on social media.

According to the Armada Fair website, the event “is on schedule for August 17 – 23.” The fair office is closed until further notice and the Miss Armada pageant has been postponed. Earlier this month, fair organizers announced that country music singer and songwriter Chris Lane would be their featured performer on August 17.