Wise choice: St. Mary’s family decides to attend
As many have recently learned, the Maryland State Fair’s schedule has been altered greatly this year due to COVID-19. Though the fair is canceled the Maryland State Fair Youth and Open Livestock Shows are being offered as well as an auction for top youth exhibitors.
The Wise family in St. Mary’s County has been very active in the 4-H program and showing livestock. Cindy Wise participated in the 4-H program as a child and is now the leader of a local 4-H club. Her daughters Gabby Wise graduated from St. Mary’s Ryken High School last year and Sydney Wise is a sophomore at St. Mary’s Ryken. The family raises beef cattle, goats, sheep, and swine, all of which they typically take to the St. Mary’s County Fair and Maryland State Fair. The Wise family will be attending the State Fair’s livestock shows.
Speaking via Zoom, Sydney and Cindy Wise discussed their decision to go to the State Fair livestock shows and how the current health issue is affecting their ability to sell and show their animals this year.
Cindy Wise said that the state fair’s livestock shows and auction will not be open to the public and are not connected to the 4-H and FFA programs, but the majority of the population who enter their livestock will be members of the programs.
Cindy said the number of animal entries will most likely be reduced compared to previous years. However, she said she expects the families that often exhibit in the shows will probably still come. Sydney agreed that making the changes to the shows was the best choice due to safety reasons; and the families from out of state who attend the shows will understand and hopefully will return next year.
Regarding the auction, the fair is holding to its previous format, selling two poultry projects, 15 steers, 10 market goats, one dairy steer, 25 market lambs and 25 market hogs, including the champion and reserve champion of species.
According to fair staff, the shows’ plan of operations has been approved by the state departments of health and agriculutre and the Baltiomore County Health Department. Exhibitors were also mailed a letter last week detailing guidlines for maintandi health and safety.
In keeping with Gov. Larry Hogan’s Executive Order, exhibitors and family will be required to wear face coverings when indoors and in cases where social distancing is not possible. Cindy and Sydney both agreed that with the measures and precautions that the State Fair is following, they are comfortable with attending.
Sydney said she thinks the experience of the pandemic will cause 4-Hers to become more self-aware. The coming years at the fair will not be as they were before youth exhibitors will have to get used to doing what they love doing while trying their best to stay safe and aware.