County fair boards and agricultural societies in Nebraska’s 93 counties are determining what their fair will look like – or whether to have them at all – as the state responds to COVID-19.

Nebraska Extension wants to make sure all 4-H’ers across the state have the opportunity to showcase their hard work at county fairs this summer.

Nebraska Extension is working with these groups to design in-person or virtual 4-H experiences, or a combination of both, appropriate for each county. Recommendations of both the governor’s office and Nebraska’s district health departments will determine what strategies will work best on a county-by-county basis.

“We are absolutely committed to making sure all youth who take part in 4-H across Nebraska have the opportunity to exhibit their hard work at a fair,” said Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension. “We are equally committed to protecting the health and safety of our youth, volunteers, judges and spectators.

Nebraska has one of the highest 4-H participation rates in the nation, with one in three – a total of more than 140,000 — youth engaged in the program. Nebraska Extension began adapting 2020 4-H programming to virtual formats back in March, when social distancing and other directed health measures were first put in place.

“Fairs may look different than they have in the past with social distancing, different arrangements for livestock shows, and the possible option for virtual shows; we also know that the fair experience is an important part of a 4-H’er’s summer,” Hibberd said. “We are excited to be able to make that happen.”

Additional information for county fairs will be available as details are finalized. Contact your local extension office for information.