Fair amount of change: 4-H Fair still on but closed to public


Like many events, the Hamilton County 4-H Fair will look a dramatically different this year. The July 16-20 fair will go on, but in a limited capacity. Only 4-H members and their families can attend.

In addition, there will be no food vendors, commercial vendors or evening entertainment.

The Hamilton County 4-H Council is moving forward with the limited fair to allow 4-H members an opportunity to learn.

“They were also looking at the Purdue guidelines and the guidelines for the governor’s Back On Track plans, but we are calling it an exhibit fair because it is limited,” county extension director Susan Peterson said. “We are trying to make sure safety measures are in place, so we met with the Hamilton County Health Dept., the Hamilton County Emergency Management and Hamilton County Buildings and Grounds.”

4-H Youth Development Educator Kathleen Bohde said in planning a limited-capacity fair, the group had to remember its original mission.

“The Hamilton County 4-H mission is to provide real-life educational opportunities for young people that will have a positive impact on the community and our world,” Bohde said. “So, they have been working on these projects and diving deeper into different subject matters, and usually our fair is an opportunity to showcase that to the public. This year, we have had to tweak what our vision is of the fair due to COVID-19.

“In the end, we needed to really focus on the core, and that would be having the youth exhibits judged and critiqued by a judge.”

Fair organizers look forward to presenting a full fair next year.
“We want all that back, but for this year, we have had to go back to the core of the event, and that’s focusing on 4-H and the 4-H projects and educational programs, and we had to take a pause this year,” Bohde said. 

During the fair, 4-H members and their families will be required to practice social distancing. Face coverings and hand sanitizer will be available, along with cleaning stations and hand-washing stations.

In addition, there is a change in the 4-H showing schedule.

“This year is a show-and-go,” Bohde said. “Animals will come in the morning, and after the judging event, they are released to go back home. No animals will be here overnight.”

The queen pageant will be live streamed through Hamilton County Television, as will the show arena events. For the indoor exhibits, a virtual tour of the fair will be filmed. 

“We will be posting our schedules and sharing the links to the different live-streamed events as well as a highlight reel,” Bohde said. “We have been working on how to celebrate our 10- and nine-year 4-H members, and we do want it to be a celebration. It just has to look a bit different this year. We are grateful people are passionate about 4-H and the Hamilton County 4-H Fair and want to help support it, but we will see you in 2021.”

For more, visit extension.purdue.edu/hamilton/article/4559.

4-H members attending the state fair

The Indiana State Fair also will be closed to the public. 4-H projects advancing to the Aug. 7-23 fair will be for indoor projects only.

A virtual auction will be conducted for livestock.

“It will be very limited, the same model Hamilton County is doing for their 4-H families, and there is no public at Indiana state fair,” 4-H Youth Development Educator Kathleen Bohde said.


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