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‘UnFair’ Offers Chance For 4-H’ers

Wyatt Harrington stands with his steer on Friday at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds. Photo by Anthony Dolce

While the Chautauqua County Fair remains on hiatus for another year, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County is doing their best to make sure that those individuals who normally participate in the event still get something close to that experience.

This year, the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds is hosting what has been dubbed the “UnFair,” which began Wednesday and continues throughout the weekend. Though the event benefits a lot of those individuals, it benefits most the kids participating in 4-H who would have to take two years off from their normal activities.

“It’s better than nothing,” said Wyatt Harrington, a 10-year member of 4-H. “I definitely missed doing it last year so it’s good to be back.”

The UnFair still provides children like Harrington an opportunity to exhibit their projects, and in Harrington’s case, also give him the opportunity for his steer to be the top steer in show in a Friday morning competition. The rest of these shows, including the beef, dairy, goat, hog, horse, poultry, rabbit, and sheep shows went on all day Friday and will continue Saturday.

The Chautauqua County Fairgrounds Board donated the use of the Grounds, in addition to the water and the electric for the purposes of the “UnFair,” and while the job done is close, Harrington said there are some differences from the normal Chautauqua County Fair.

“It’s different,” Harrington said. “Usually there’s a lot of downtime to hang out with friends. This year, you get here, do what you have to do, and you’re done.”

Harrington elaborated on that sentiment by saying that he misses the usual time that he and his friends have time to play games but appreciates being able to participate in any shows at all, even with the condensed time frame.

“During the week it gets long but when you’ve got a short week, you’re still having fun, but you don’t get to play foursquare or volleyball during the day like normal,” Harrington said. “It’s just doing your business.”

While the shows are closed off to the general public other than family members, the shows on Friday still featured a pretty decent turnout, given the circumstances. And for the general public, normal fair food trucks can be found on the fairgrounds through the entrance on Central Avenue, with no price of admission. Additionally, the 57th annual 4-H meat animal sale will be open to public participation on Saturday, July 24, beginning at noon. There are an estimated 60 hogs, eight goats, 35 pairs of chickens, 28 lambs and 15 steers that will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

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