Open class entries are prepped, as 4-H judging begins |

Open class entries are prepped, as 4-H judging begins

The 6 p.m. deadline for exhibitors enter approaches as CSU extensions staff, fair board members, and volunteers organize the new look Garfield County Fair

4-H Class exhibits are on display in the North Hall as judges go through each entry Monday morning at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, county and state guidelines most of the 2020 edition of the fair had been cancelled with a few virtual events being held this week.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

All is quiet around the Garfield County Fairgrounds this week, except for the North, South and Event Halls with entries being dropped of and judging on 4-H and Open Class Monday in Rifle.

During a normal year the fairgrounds would be buzzing with activity, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 Garfield County Fair and Rodeo has canceled all in-person events and activities. The cancellation of most of the fair hasn’t slowed down things for CSU Extension Garfield County Director, 4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer Science Agent Carla Farrand, her staff, and volunteers. 

“It’s definitely dramatically different this year, but very busy. For me there is a lot more paperwork involved in doing the fair than was typically involved,” Farrand said. “Everyone thinks this is an easier because it is virtual, but it is actually four time harder, because of all the paperwork we are doing.”

Carla Farrand, CSU Extension Garfield County Director, 4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer Science Agent, organizes entries in the food preservation Open Class in the Event Hall Monday at the fairground in Rifle.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

Farrand and her staff worked through the weekend and Monday, accepting Open Class entries and helping to make sure all 4-H entries were ready for judges.

In a typical year, Farrand would be checking in 150-200 photography items alone, but this year she has only received a dozen entries as of Monday morning. Normally the fair takes in thousands of entries from local exhibitors.

Ribbons hang from a few of the 4-H Class entries in this year’s Garfield County Fair and Rodeo in Rifle.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

“We have no idea what to expect this year, we’ve opened it up, and some of our longtime exhibitors are still taking tags. We have an exhibitor who normally enters 300 exhibits, and I believe she has 100 tags this year,” Farrand said.

Farrand know the pandemic has affected some exhibitors, but believes that a lot of it has to do with the growing season being abnormal this year, and home gardens experiencing low production. While some categories are down, Farrand said some have more entries than years previous.

Kate Lewis of Rifle labels the handful of entries she is submitting for this year’s Garfield County Fair and Rodeo Monday in Rifle. Lewis, who is also on the fair board, took a moment of downtime to prepare her exhibits in-between helping take in entries for the Open Class exhibitors.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

“Our food preservation section has really grown, we ‘ve had a lot more entries come in on that this year already,” Farrand said. “Just today we added a new class of dried seasoning, because a lot of people are growing their own herbs.”

For more on the 2020 Garfield County Fair and Rodeo check out Thursday’s edition of the Citizen Telegram.

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