Rock County 4-H Fair makes its return after COVID cancellation

The fair is back at the Rock County Fairgrounds after it was canceled in 2020 during the pandemic
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 11:08 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - The Rock County 4-H Fair is back in full swing in Janesville after the event was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

The oldest youth exhibitor fair in the country shut its doors last year. This year, kids and teens in 4-H and FFA came flocking back to showcase their livestock.

One of the events that particularly impacts youth exhibitors and their families is the meat animal sale, where youth bring their sheep, swine, and beef animals to auction. According to fair board member Abbey Gasser, the money these kids make from the sale is reinvested into their livestock, and put toward their college tuition. Last year, without the sale, Gasser said many families faced challenges of how to sell the animal they had spent so much time raising and preparing for the fair.

“The fair for all of us showmen is an experience like no other, It’s a family here, so not having it last year was honestly a real loss,” said Grace Peterson, who’s been involved in 4-H and the fair for about 11 years. “It’s an opportunity for kids to showcase their work and to have a fun week.”

For the 2021 season, the fair opened July 27, and runs through Aug. 1.

“The fair theme this year is ‘bringing back the magic,’ everybody is super excited to be back here at the fair this year, exhibiting animals and projects and having all the excitement back,” said Emma McNally, who holds the title of ‘Fairest of the Fair’ this year.

While there are an assortment of animal-centric events, from showmanship events to races, there are also a number of activities outside of the arenas, such as rides, food, and live music.

“This is a big event for our community, there’s no other event like this in Rock County, in Janesville,” Gasser said. “Not only does it mean a ton to the young kids, exhibitors who are here showing their projects and showing us what they know, that’s really what they’re doing when they’re here, but we have vendors. We have people who are employed here, we have people who are traveling to Janesville to stay in the hotels. It’s a tourism event for our city, it’s a really important staple that’s been here for a long time.”

For more information on the fair’s schedule of events and tickets, click here.

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