Pueblo County Fair mostly virtual because of coronavirus
The Pueblo County Fair is keeping its festive spirit alive even though it will be limited to a virtual rendering of the end of summer event.
COVID-19 forced it from its normal procedures. The fair would have been live this week.
“It is kind of a weird year. We’ve had to do a lot of different things to make this happen for the kids,” said Jennifer Furney, Pueblo County Fair Board member.
“It was a very trying time for a lot of people,” she added with a laugh.
All 4-H and FFA member contestants were able to submit videos of their projects.
Furney said there were 254 videos that were judged, including market dairy breeding and showmanship.
For rabbit and poultry, there were 280 photos that were judged.
“That’s a lot of videos for our judges to look over. They did it from home, too,” Furney said.
Furney said once submitted, each project was judged. Those who placed will be awarded ribbons. She said most of the results are on the fair website at pueblocountyfair.com/results.
Furney said events like shooting sports did happen in-person.
Furney said the fair board had to follow county procedures with COVID-19.
“We have to follow all the guidelines through the state,” Furney said.
Furney said the COVID-19 testing site at the Colorado State Fairgrounds also was a reason the fair went virtual.
“The testing site was leased at the facility we use for the county fair. That was a big issue for us,” Furney said.
The main event Furney said she and other board members wanted to have is the livestock sale.
“This is such an important event for the kids
The sale kicked off Tuesday, also virtual.
The event will continue through Friday. The public can visit StockShowAuctions.com to view the animal selection and make a bid. It runs through 8 p.m. each day.
“Anyone in the country can bid on it. That’s nice for the kids,” Furney said.
“It’s all new to us. Like everything else this year.”
Furney said the sale is important because several of the contestants purchased their livestock.
“It’s hundreds of dollars that they spend on those projects and for us not to have a fair, then that means we wouldn’t have the sale. And it we don’t have a sale then those kids lose out on that money,” Furney said.
“And a lot of kids use that money to buy animals for the next year.”
Furney said the preparation for this year’s fair was a learning experience.
“It was important to be creative to present some version of fair for kids to participate in,” she said.
Furney said a lot of kids were waiting to purchase animals this year to see how the pandemic would effect the fair.
“Planning was very difficult. We had to come up with a new system for the kids to be able to submit their videos. We’ve never done that before. We also had to come up with new rules and a pattern for each kid to do the same thing in their videos.” She said.
Furney said the top values for the kids who participate are the lessons they learn, including hard work, perseverance, sportsmanship, public speaking, leadership, citizenship and life skills.
“Perhaps the most valuable takeaway is the lasting friendships they create,” she said.
Youth growth and development are core principles of the county fair. Donations from community organizations like San Isabel Electric help keep nonprofit educational programs like these thriving.
In 2020, San Isabel Electric and power supplier Basin Electric Power Cooperative donated a combined $2,000 to the Pueblo County Fair.
“Cooperatives know the importance of continued education, as we strive to keep our members and employees always learning. The county fair is an opportunity for students to continue to strengthen their minds while on break from school. We love to contribute to those programs that keep our youth engaged and growing,” said Jacque Sikes, San Isabel Electrics Board of Directors president.
Chieftain reporter Anthony A. Mestas can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or attwitter.com/mestas3517. Help support local journalism with a subscription to the Chieftain atchieftain.com/subscribenow.