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4-H fair officials weighing options as pandemic continues

NOW: 4-H fair officials weighing options as pandemic continues

The coronavirus pandemic is halting plans everywhere and local 4-H fairs are no exception.

Fairgrounds are now closed in accordance with the government’s stay home orders and preparing for plan B if they’re forced to cancel this summer’s events.

“We're running through every scenario we can right now. There's everything from postponement to next year to cancellation, to postponement to the fall,” said Jeremy D’Angelo, Marketing and Sponsorship Coordinator for the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

Since the coronavirus pandemic is ever-evolving, officials are also discussing an unconventional fair option.

“There’s a virtual fair, there’s all kinds of different options we have on the table,” says D’Angelo. “Since the situation is changing every day, we won't make any decisions until much closer to Fair."

In St. Joseph County, fair directors are monitoring the situation closely - considering alternatives every day.

“At this point we’re just waiting to hear whether or not we’re going to be able to have it and see if the kids are going to be able to show at a normal fair or if that changes as well,” said Jim Caldwell, St. Joseph County Fair Board President.

Still, they’re cautiously optimistic - and 4-H participants are encouraged to continue their preparations.

“Keep preparing, it’s a great learning experience just as it’s always been,” said Caldwell. “And you will be given credit for it, from what I understand from the Purdue Extension Office. And things will work out. The biggest thing right now is folks need to be flexible.”

As of now the St. Joseph County 4-H Fair will be July 3-11 and the Elkhart County 4-H Fair will be July 24-August 1.

Officials are prepared to adjust those plans at any time to keep everyone safe.

D'Angelo says they are optimistic and have not cancelled the fair.

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