4H Auction

Brenna Wilson shows a steer in the 31st annual 4-H/FFA Jr. Livestock market sale in the Bloom Pavilion at the Kittitas County Fair in 2019. Organizers for the 2020 fair and exploring a range of options.

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Right now, local organizations and committees feel like they are locked into a chess match with a grand master and the only moves available at this point are defensive.

Like the Ellensburg Rodeo, Kittitas County Fair Board president Becky Sherley and her committee are looking into possibilities and probabilities of holding a major event over Labor Day weekend.

Even if the county moves into Phase 4 of the governor’s reopening plan, the possibility of holding a large event has many challenges. The Kittitas County Fair Board has posted July 16 as the date to make its decision, Sherley said.

“The longer we can wait to make our decision, the more likely we are to have one. We’re holding on as long as we can, but in the background, we’re working very hard to explore our options,” she said. “We’re exploring a modified fair or other options where we can help the kids and animals.”

The crowds involved in the midway, vendors, apparel and other activities over the four-day event might not be applicable. But the fair board committees are looking into options with its 4-H and FFA programs. Animal auctions involve beef, swine, goats and lambs.

“We’re looking into a modified fair and a single-day show for the livestock kids to sell their animals,” Sherley said. “We’re looking at a food fair, where people can drive through for food like they would at a drive through at a restaurant.

“Even if it’s not a full fair, we’re looking into what events we can offer. The thing we don’t know is that if Phase 4 will actually be better. We don’t want our whole county blowing up (with an outbreak) by inviting other counties in the region to come here.”

Sherley said it’s not just selling cotton candy and riding the Ferris wheel, there are health issues to consider. But the livestock participants are heavily invested in the purchase and raising of an animal. One thing they can do is a virtual auction online to allow the auctions to go on as planned, Kittitas Valley Events Center Director Kady Porterfield said.

“We’re building contingency plans around non-traditional activities and give the community a chance to support them,” she said. “We haven’t made any decisions right now, but we are exploring available options.

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