IMPERIAL — With deadlines looming for 2021 California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta livestock exhibits, fair officials have alerted potential animal exhibitors that planning for the Feb. 26-March 7, 2021, fair is still underway, but “there are no guarantees.”
“We are continuing to work towards 2021 as if our fair will be open … but there are no guarantees we will be able to open,” the letter to youths, parents, and organizations involved with livestock exhibits notes. The letter is from Imperial Valley’s 45th District Agriculture Association board, also known as the fair board.
“We wish we could consult with one of our magicians to look into the crystal ball and let us know what the future holds, but as you know, things surrounding this pandemic change on a daily basis. We will continue to plan as though we will have a livestock show and auction until it is otherwise decided we cannot,” the letter states.
While the fair is in the late February/early March time frame, livestock exhibit deadlines hit in the fall months. The production steer judging class has already been impacted: The fair has officially postponed that class for the 2021 fair.
“Our local feedlot partners are an integral part of the success of this project from start to finish. After seeking guidance from their representatives, it became clear that postponement was the prudent choice,” according to the letter.
All other livestock categories continue, for now.
“Participating in the livestock program for 2021 is something in which parents and exhibitors will have to grapple with as there is no guarantee we will be allowed to have a show and or auction. If you choose to move forward with a livestock project, ownership deadlines will remain in place, and DNA collection and ear tags will be required as in any other year,” the board’s letter states.
Noting the fair is an agency of the state of California, “the decision on our fair ultimately rests with the state.”
The 2020 California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta was the last California fair to run its full schedule before COVID-19 closures hit the state in mid-March. And if the pandemic eases, it would be the first to open in the 2021 season.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a crisis felt around our country, but the California fair industry has been severely hurt by this pandemic. Nearly all of the fairs have had to cancel their fair as well as their interim events. Events are the bread and butter of fairgrounds, and without them, the industry as a whole, from fairgrounds, to vendors, concessionaires, carnival operators, and more have endured huge losses,” according to the letter.
“Unfortunately, every fair in California has been canceled since ours, and with Indio already canceling their 2021 fair, we are the next fair on the calendar,” the letter notes.