WHITNEYVILLE — The Tioga County Agricultural Association, the group which organizes the annual Tioga County Fair, is planning to hold an agricultural exposition this year.
According to Jennie York, secretary of the fair, the exposition will be held on the same date as the fair, Aug. 10-15, and will consist of a weeklong series of livestock shows. The schedule of shows is included in the sidebar.
“We know it’s not a fair, so we’re not calling it a fair. We’re calling an agricultural exposition,” York said.
While the majority of other fairs in the state have been canceled, the county association felt it was important to provide something to the youths who are raising animals.
“We just know that these kids have put a lot of time and work into these animals and we just hate to see them miss out on opportunity to show off their animals and show the hard work they’ve done throughout the year,” said York. But, she added, “That is all that’s happening. Nothing else. No vendors, nothing.”
At this time, winners will not receive ribbons, premiums, trophies or banners for exhibiting animals. As it is an “open” show, there will be entry fees and anyone can enter.
“We are making no money off of this and it is expensive to put on a show,” York said, noting the association will have to pay for judges, an extra veterinarian to screen animals, portable bathrooms and hand-washing stations, along with garbage collection.
There is no gate fee collected, but attendance will be limited to 250 people in the show ring area at a time.
“We want the shows to happen and we assume the kids and parents and grandparents will be there to watch,” York said.
The week will be capped off by the Junior Livestock Auction, an event where youths sell their market animals. It will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, in the show ring. The grand champion dairy animals will not be in attendance, but photos will be taken at the show and displayed during the auction.
This year will be tricky to navigate, with both the COVID-19 guidelines and the loss of revenue. While the association isn’t paying out premiums — which total $15,000 for the week — or ribbons — another $9,000-plus expense — there are some costs that continue.
“Our monthly expenses are close to $3,000 for mowing, utilities, labor. All that stuff just adds up,” said York. “And we’re not getting as many rentals on the grounds with weddings canceled and all that. We need to make sure we make it to next year’s fair.”
Community support, like the fundraiser organized by KC101 radio station, has been encouraging for the board members.
“The KC101 fundraiser — it is just crazy what people have given us and we appreciate what community given us and we want to give back to community, although we realize it probably won’t be this year,” said York. “We’re really overwhelmed by community support and disappointed we can’t give the community a (traditional) fair to go to this year.”