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New kind of fair: county fair continues under pandemic guidelines

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RONAN – The Lake County fairgrounds weren’t the bustling hub they usually are in late July, but that didn’t stop 7-year-old Tuneya Moran from bringing her bunny to the show.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fair changed rules for livestock showing to reduce the spread of the virus. Spectators weren’t allowed at some events, and participants were asked to socially distance. Some adults wore masks. Most livestock were removed from the fairgrounds soon after they were shown. 

It was Moran’s first year showing her bunny, Flower. She has been caring for Flower since last summer. She said she worked hard to get her bunny in the best shape she could before bringing her to the fair. She feeds the rabbit daily, cleans her cage and spends time with her. “I was excited to come because I’ve been working so hard to get her ready,” Moran said. “She looked so pretty.” Flower earned a red second-place ribbon. 

Moran said the pandemic didn’t impact her experience much. She wore a mask when she first arrived at the fairgrounds with her family but took it off before the judges examined her bunny. She and her family leaned against the chain-link fence that separated the judges from the participants to hear what the judges thought of the animal she raised. 

Isaac Canton watched as the judge examined his rabbit, Duct Tape. Canton will be a sophomore when he returns to Ronan High School in the fall. It was Duct Tape’s fourth year at the fair, and he earned the Grand Champion award. Canton said he got Duct Tape from Westland Seed. “He’s a local rabbit," he said.

Canton has been participating in 4-H for about six years, and he said he started raising rabbits as a way to get into raising livestock. He liked it so much he stuck with it. Canton said his family considered skipping the fair this year because of the pandemic. The family decided to attend anyway because, for them, it’s not just about showing off animals. Canton raises pigs that he sells at the fair, so in order to profit from his work, he had to be there. 

Canton said the fair looked much different this year compared to the past. He said the fairgrounds looked empty, and all the shows had been re-arranged. “It was better the way it was before, but it can’t be helped,” he said. 

 

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