You can add county 4-H fairs to the list of businesses and organizations reopening in the coming weeks. The Purdue Extension announced last week fairs can occur after face-to-face restrictions are lifted on June 30, provided Indiana continues to hit benchmarks of the state’s Back on Track plan.
But there’s still a chance some counties may decide not to hold an in-person because of costs associated with hosting the event.
“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.
Henderson said local 4-H fair boards, 4-H councils and county extension educators may continue planning for events in consultation with local health officials.
Purdue Extension said 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, and institute practices for disinfecting high traffic areas and offering hand sanitizer and cleaning stations.
While fairs will be allowed to open, not all counties will have the financial means to host an in-person fair.
Purdue Extension said in some cases, 4-H councils and extension boards may choose to conduct virtual fairs due to financial limitations, PPE availability or other locally determined restrictions.
“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.”
Mull said 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.