SIDNEY — The Shelby County Fair starts tomorrow, and with all poultry being banned, it left some participants with a change in project at the last minute.
Back in June, the Ohio Department of Agriculture canceled all live-bird exhibitions at county fairs to protect the state’s $2.3 billion poultry industry from the avian flu that has negatively impacted states bordering Ohio.
The ban includes county and independent fairs, the Ohio State Fair and all other gatherings of birds for show or for sale, including auctions and swap meets.
The alternative project for the 4-H kids competing with poultry projects was to turn their project into a poster. The poultry is to be raised, but not brought to the fairgrounds. The poster is proof of the completed project. Participants may choose to scratch their poultry project; however, if poultry is their only fair project, they must complete at least one poster to receive their fair pass for the fair.
The posters will include a summary of the project and a photo of the exhibitor and their chicken, duck, goose or turkey. The posters will be on display at the fair all week in the youth building.
Laura Norris, Shelby County 4-H youth development educator, said so far the projects have been going smoothly and they have only had minor questions, for example, on what kind of poster board to use.
She said it will be interesting to see how it goes, but other counties have done similar things at their fair and it has worked well for them.
The projects will be turned in Saturday between 4 and 8 p.m. in the youth building, just like usual, and that’s when they will find out who scratched. Norris said they could potentially get 50 posters.
She said not much has changed with the process the kids have to go through at the fair. They are trying to keep everything similar to how it would normally go. They will present their poster projects to the judges on Wednesday during the normal time they would show their animal.
The really dedicated kids who are participating in the showmanship part will use a stuffed chicken and a stuffed duck to show their knowledge of how to handle the animal.
There will also be a pound-of-chicken sale during the regular sale of animals at the fair on Saturday, Aug. 1. Buyers will purchase $50 shares and the final balance will be distributed equally among the eligible market chicken and market duck exhibitors.
The fair runs from Sunday to Saturday, with events spread out over all the days. For the entire rundown of everything Shelby County Fair, turn to the fair preview in today’s issue.
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN