Due to the ongoing social distancing guidelines and additional precautions taking place to help slow and reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Linn County 4-H and FFA fair events will be held on a virtual platform.
“The health and safety of our 4-H youth, families, volunteers, and animals are our number one priority when making this decision. After reviewing guidance from the Linn County Public Health regarding mass gatherings, local COVID-19 epidemiology data, and the number of youth and volunteers needed on the fairgrounds at one time, we regretfully realized that in-person fair events were just not possible by the end of June," says County Director for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Linn County, RaeAnn Gordon.
Since the May 7, 2020 announcement from the Linn County Fair Association to cancel grounds and grandstand entertainment for the 2020 Linn County Fair, 4-H and Linn County Extension staff have taken time to receive and solicit feedback from livestock committees, 4-H youth leadership, 4-H parents, volunteers and the Youth Programs Committee. Youth Programs Committee is the governing body of the Linn County 4-H.
“While it may seem like we have more time to consider, our 4-H and FFA youth, families, and staff need time to prepare for a fair that is less than five weeks away. In a typical year we start planning the next year’s fair immediately after the current fair is completed,” JD Waybill, County Youth Coordinator for Linn County 4-H says.
Linn County 4-H is home to 339 4-H members in 4th through 12th grades, and 107 Clover Kids in grades kindergarten through 3rd grades. Each year, 325 youth, on average exhibit projects at the Linn County Fair. 4-H is a year-round positive youth development program where adult volunteers mentor, role model, and teach citizenship, leadership, communication, and resilience to reach their full potential”, says Gordon.
For many, County Fair is an opportunity to showcase all that 4-H and FFA youth have learned throughout the year and to receive feedback and recognition about their exhibits and learning. This feedback, recognition, and learning will still happen this year, just in a virtual format. The Linn County Ag Extension Council partners with the Linn County Fair Association to provide an annual community celebration and educational experience for all Iowans.
“The Linn County Fair Association continues to support the decisions and efforts of Linn County Extension and Linn County 4-H to provide the best experience possible for our youth” said Jennifer Dunn, Vice President of the Linn County Fair Board. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Linn County looks forward to sharing the accomplishments of Linn County youth very soon.