County Fair Canceled

Friends and family of Rio Arriba County 4-H club members watch the County Fair livestock competition awards ceremony, July 29, 2017, at the Abiquiú Rural Events Center. This year’s fair is canceled because of the likelihood of crowds like this one.

    Due to the risk of coronavirus transmission, the Rio Arriba County Fair Board has canceled the County Fair.

    County Fair Association Board Chair Kirsty Archuleta said the Board based the decision off the current state COVID-19 restrictions around gatherings.

    “It was a really tough decision,” she said. “We didn’t make this decision lightly. But with the current restrictions in place, with the rising numbers, it was the decision that the Board made.”

    The Board is currently brainstorming a way for children who would normally show animals in the Fair to participate in a COVID-19 safe livestock sale.

    Archuleta said the details are not final, but possibilities include a livestream, in which the children are filmed as they individually walk their animals around an empty arena, or else a series of pictures and videos of the animals that are shared with potential buyers.

    “We want to support the kids,” she said. “We felt like the best way to do that would be to try to do this sale.”

    She hopes community members will support the youth by buying their animals, she said.

    “These are good quality, high-quality feed animals, and this is how the kids complete their project and have money to come back next year with different animals and do it all over again,” she said.

    The meat is much cheaper than the meat currently sold in grocery stores, she said.

    “A family of four can go in and get a nice beef and put a quarter beef in their freezer for half the price that you’re paying at the grocery store per pound,” she said.

    The Rio Arriba County Extension Office is in charge of the indoor exhibition side of the Fair, in which growers display vegetables and 4-H youths display projects.

    Interim County program director Donald Martinez said an event for the indoor exhibition will occur much later in the season, in mid-September.

    That way, local farmers can display their harvest.

    Participants will bring their entries to the door of the exhibition hall, and Extension Staff will set them up. Judges, at various time slots, will walk through the hall and rank the entries.

    There will be a specific day to celebrate 4-H achievement.

    Because the State Fair has been canceled due to COVID-19, competitors will not be able to progress beyond the local level. But Martinez said the winners will receive ribbons and possibly monetary prizes.

    “We really want to showcase the projects these kids and community members are making or have made,” he said. “We’re not giving up.”

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