What the state fair’s cancellation means to young competitors

Updated: Jul. 7, 2020 at 3:39 PM EDT
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TOWN OF LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Great New York State Fair has been shelved for the year and north country agricultural clubs will miss out on a fun learning opportunity.

Elizabeth Hyman has been competing at the Great New York State Fair with Belleville-Henderson’s Future Farmers of America for some time.

"I've gone to compete at the New York State Fair in CDE's for the past three years," she said.

CDEs, or Career Development Events, include showing cows.

But Hyman won't have the chance to compete at the state fair this year.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday it has been cancelled because of COVID-19.

It was an announcement Hyman says she anticipated, but has still left her a little disappointed.

"It's an event I look forward to going to for many reasons. Not only competing, but also to see other FFA members," she said.

Hyman says she has still been able to compete this year. But, like many things during this pandemic, those competitions have been moved online.

"So, this week would've been the week of Jefferson County Fair and I participated in virtual contests this morning," she said.

Officials with Cornell Cooperative Extension's 4-H Club made the decision to pull out of the state fair in June.

Rob Bucci is an educator at Lewis County's 4-H Club and says he understood then why the club wouldn't be participating.

"Our youth, they've been working all year on their 4-H projects. So, it's always unfortunate that they can't go out and highlight that to the community. However, again, during these times, always best to keep the interest of staff, our youth, and the community safe," he said.

Like Jefferson County, Bucci says agricultural events at the Lewis County Fair are moving online too.

So 4-H Club members will still have a way to show off their work.

"If you send in a video or a picture for that event the day before, we'll post that the day of the event," said Bucci.

Hyman says competition or not, she’ll continue to take good care of the cows so they can be ready if the state fair returns next year.

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