Cancellation of fair disappoints sheep exhibitors

WWNY Cancellation of fair disappoints sheep exhibitors

HEUVELTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Gouverneur & St. Lawrence County Fair is canceled and it’s hitting one group of fair goers particularly hard.

The Pierce children have been raising sheep for more than 20 years and showing them at the Gouverneur & St. Lawrence County Fair. Wednesday, they heard this year's fair is canceled.

“I was pretty sad. I kind of expected it to happen," said Maureen Pierce, 4-H livestock exhibitor. "There was still that little glimmer of hope that it would go on as scheduled. So it's a real blow that were not going to have it.”

The fair board made its decision Tuesday. It is the last north country fair board to cancel. It didn't make the decision any easier. It wasn't unanimous.

“With COVID-19, we just felt for the health and safety of our volunteers, supporters, north country as a whole, it was the right thing to do,” said Beth Martin, Gouverneur & St. Lawrence County Fair president.

The other big factor is all the unknowns. No one even knows if mass gatherings will be allowed in August. If they are, what will the rules be?

“As we get closer to the date of our fair we wouldn't actually have time to prepare and get everything ready,” said Martin.

Vendor deposits already collected will be returned.

You're not going to see a big midway here with rides in August. And you're not going to be able to buy lemon ice or a taco. But 4-H members are hopeful that something can be done with what they do.

There are ideas. Perhaps in-person showings with just one animal at a time for half an hour. And 4-H wants to research the possibility of virtual showings. But there's nothing like the real deal.

“The judge is suppose to feel the sheep. Test how meaty they are. And I don't think that would work over a computer," said Michael Pierce, 4-H livestock exhibitor.

“I'll definitely miss just being there. I love the whole fair community. … So I won't be able to catch up with them. Fair food, I'll definitely miss that,” said Maureen Pierce.

The fair board says tickets already purchased will be good in 2021 or they can be refunded.

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