Purdue Extension announces 4-H fairs can occur in July if guidelines met

NOTE: The following info was posted by the Cass County 4-H Fair Board on their Facebook page on May 18, 2020:

Tonight the Cass County Fair Board of Directors met to discuss the 2020 Cass County 4-H Fair. At this time, the directors have decided to move forward with plans to have the 2020 4-H Fair, with the stipulation that Cass County is fast-tracked to join the rest of the state in opening on July 5th. Livestock shows will be show and go events, safety precautions for all participants, volunteers and visitors will be in place at all times. All participants and volunteers will be asked to wear a mask, health checks will be performed daily on volunteers and social distancing will be maintained. Fair will look very different than the past years, however the Fair Board is committed to celebrating the achievement of the 4-Her’s with their projects. As has always been permitted, if you have concerns about participating in person, it is possible to complete your 4-H year/project by simply turning in your record books for walking projects or turning in your non-walking project when it is due. Completing your 4-H year is always encouraged, no matter how you choose to complete.

Please note that this is subject to change if guideline changes are passed by Governor Holcomb. Please be patient with the directors and livestock committees as they continue to meet and plan for this year’s fair as many changes/guidelines will need to be worked through to comply with the state and Purdue 4-H mandates

SOURCE: News release from Purdue University College of Agriculture

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —Purdue Extension announced May 15 that county 4-H fairs can occur after the Purdue University restrictions on face-to-face events end June 30.

Local 4-H fair boards, 4-H councils and county extension educators may continue planning for events through the month of June in alignment with Indiana’s Back on Track plan and in consultation with local health officials.

“Purdue Extension will comply with all federal, state, and local regulations and public safety guidelines and will adhere to Purdue University policies for public health and safety,” said Jason Henderson, senior associate dean of the College of Agriculture and director of Purdue Extension. “The Back on Track plan provides guidelines which will be followed to ensure the safety of our 4-H’ers, families, and communities.”

Interested community members should follow local county extension social media pages to receive the most up-to-date 4-H county fair information. Purdue Extension prohibited face-to-face meetings and events in response to COVID-19 restrictions through June 30. During this time, extension 4-H educators and 4-H volunteers have offered virtual programming to protect the health and safety of youth and families.

County 4-H fairs may begin on July 4, if local health officials confirm the county has reached stage five in the Indiana Back on Track plan. Fairs must adhere to social distancing guidelines, screen employees and volunteers working on behalf of Purdue Extension daily, and follow industry best practices regarding disinfecting high traffic areas and offering hand sanitizer and cleaning stations to employees and guests.

County 4-H educators have received implementation guidance. The guidance, developed from industry and government best practices, will aid 4-H councils, fair boards, and county educators in planning over the next six weeks. In some cases, 4-H councils and extension boards may choose to virtualize their fair experience due to financial limitations, PPE availability or other locally determined restrictions. Purdue Extension 4-H specialists have developed models for virtual 4-H fairs in preparation that some counties may not be able to adequately follow federal, state, and local guidelines.

“We want to make sure we are doing everything possible to protect our 4-H’ers, their families and the community,” said Casey Mull, assistant director of extension and 4-H youth development program leader. “All 4-H youth who want to exhibit this summer will be able to through virtual or face-to-face mechanisms.”

Purdue Extension staff members work in all 92 Indiana counties providing information in agriculture and natural resources, health and human sciences, community development and 4-H youth development.