Fair starts today; board says ‘we’re here for youth of county’

The Venango County Fair will go on this week as a scaled back version of its usual self, but fair board president Brad Deeter reiterated his belief Wednesday the event remains important to the county’s youth.

“We are doing the best we can to safely provide the youth with a way to showcase their projects,” said Deeter. “We are here for the youth of the county.”

The fair’s Livestock Round Up starts today and will run through Saturday, Aug. 8. The Round Up will feature the annual fair livestock auction on Friday, Aug. 7, but 4-H programs won’t be involved in the auction this year.

Penn State Extension, which oversees 4-H, has decided to postpone its events until October. That meant the fair board had to come together to find a new way forward to run the auction, said Deeter.

“The auction will be youth only,” Deeter said. “The fair board set up a subcommittee for the auction called the Venango County Youth Livestock Committee. We got a group of volunteers to put the auction on,” Deeter added.

Deeter was eager to emphasize the importance of the auction for participants, and he wants local businesses to back the youth of the county.

“I want to encourage local businesses to support the kids,” Deeter said.

For safety during the auction, the fair board has decided on various precautions. All volunteers and helpers will be temperature screened every day.

The pavilion for the auction is open and has good air quality and circulation, Deeter said.

“It’s pretty much out in the open,” said Deeter.

Buyers will only be allowed to bring one other person with them to the auction, and they will be spaced out.

There will be separate seating arrangements for the families of the participants.

Apart from the livestock auction, there will be various vendors for the public to enjoy.

“We still have 10 food vendors that will be there,” said Deeter. “We still have a handful of commercial vendors. There will be exhibits in the small exhibit building and the flower building.”

The exhibits will accommodate social distancing guidelines, and the buildings will only have one entrance and one exit, shuffling the public along a path.

Because there are exhibits, there will be more space for people to stay apart from each other, said Deeter.

Depending on how the Round Up goes, Deeter said the fair board will continue with its plans to host a demolition derby Aug. 15 and the Motorsports Weekend Aug. 28-30.

“We’re going to get through the round up and see how it goes from there,” said Deeter.