Great Frederick Fair carries on despite COVID

Maryland

FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — In July, the organizers of the Great Frederick Fair decided to cancel all fair events except for the Youth Livestock Show.

Jacqui Nigh, the director of sponsorship and marketing, and Karen Nicklas, the general manager of the fair, couldn’t decide their favorite parts of the fair.

Nigh said, “We love all of it,” while Nicklas exclaimed, “Everything!” Nigh went on to explain, “That’s it. There is not one part of this fair that I like more than the other.”

The Great Frederick Fair started as a two day cattle show and fair in the early 1820’s and while the fair may have looked a little different this year, organizers say the modified event spotlighted the Youth Livestock Show.

The livestock show was socially distanced and new rules were put in place to help keep families participating as safe as possible.

Each day, a specific animal category was shown and show participants were not able to stay on fairgrounds after their show had concluded. Nicklas also explained that the kids participating in the show were able to bring two people with them to the fair, usually their parents or guardians. All participants, chaperones, and judges wore masks throughout the event when they were unable to maintain a safe distance apart.

Karen Niklas, “We are taking it back to our roots and having just the livestock this year just like in 1822 when the fair began. We always have a significant agricultural section of our fair. That’s our main mission statement. We promote ag education and educate the youth about the industry of agriculture. So that is truly what we are doing this year.”

This year’s show was not only a way for the kids to present the animals that they have raised, but in some cases, allowed them to also sell their livestock.

“Because for many of them, they’ve been working, we call it a project, but this is their animal,” said Nigh. “Many of them that they have bred and owned and that they’ve birthed and now they are showing it and that project will end and they’ll start a new project, a new animal.”

Technology played a huge role in this year’s Youth Livestock Show as spectators were not allowed in the stands.

Nicklas explained that the fair focuses on agricultural education and the live streaming of the livestock show still allows people to watch and learn about the animals.

Nicklas said the commentating of the show allowed the fair to expand the outreach of its mission to promote agricultural education more than ever before. She also highlighted that, before this year, the kids were used to seeing spectators in the stands and interacting with them. She said the live stream allowed for the support to continue and it gave the kids “the known fact that there is somebody out there watching and people are still participating even though they can’t be here physically this year.”

Nigh was touched by a comment by a spectator. “What we heard from one spectator yesterday was that what they loved about it was that the kids, that now they can share this with their friends who might be a football player or a soccer player,” said Nigh. “Now they can share what they do because it’s live streamed, an opportunity that they didn’t have before. So we think that’s awesome.”

The Youth Livestock show concluded on Sunday, September 27th, but all past lives treams can be found our Virtual Livestock Show page.

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