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4-H, livestock shows happening; no public events this year at the Pratt County Fair

Kahrie Stegman
Pratt Tribune
Tables with classes for foods project judgers are ready and waiting for Pratt County 4-H Fair participants, but the crowds normally expected at a fair will not be invited this year due to the coronavirus.

Among the many other changes that have happened over the past few months, the Pratt County Fair will be very different this year, as health precautions have restricted many of the typical activities at the fair. 

This year, there will be no open class exhibits, and viewing the indoor projects such as crafts, food, and sewing will not be open to the public. This is to reduce foot traffic and possible spread of COVID-19 at the fairgrounds. 

There will still be 4-H livestock and horse shows, which anyone can watch from the live stream on Facebook. 

Typically, every indoor exhibitor shows their indoor projects to a judge in person. This year, the 4-Hers dropped off their projects on Monday, July 20 to be judged on Tuesday. 

Even though everyone at the fairgrounds will be taking extra safety precautions such as using hand sanitizer, wiping high-contact surfaces, and wearing masks, some out-of-town judges turned down the request to judge due to health concerns. 

“Some of those inside judges were really concerned about that,” said Pratt County Extension Agent Jodi Drake. “I think that’s something we all have to keep in mind. It’s that you have to respect everyone’s level of comfort with this pandemic.”

Social media will be the main form of communication to the public from the fairgrounds this year. Pictures will be posted to the Pratt County Fair and Pratt County 4-H Facebook pages.

Though there are many changes this year, one thing remains the same. 

“We’re still going to showcase our 4-Hers,” Drake said. “We’re still going to try to give them an avenue to showcase their exhibits and what they’ve been working on all year long and doing what they do best: their projects. We know how hard they’ve been working. That was important to us.” 

Assuming the fair will be back to normal next year, Drake and the rest of the Extension Agents plan on using what they’ve learned about technology to improve future fairs. 

“I think we’ve all learned some things and adapted to technology like we didn’t think we were capable of doing,” Drake said. “I think some of these technology things are a good thing. I think we can utilize them.”