Salinas Valley Fair cancellation impacts local 4-H students

Posted at 4:56 PM, Apr 28, 2020

County fairs across the nation are being canceled.

While the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles is still scheduled for July, the fair in nearby King City is canceled.

The Salinas Valley Fair was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns but students are still able to auction off their animals online.

"I was pretty devastated," said Mikayla Vert, Atascadero High School Student. "I had put a lot of time and work into my lamb."

The high school senior has been raising a lamb and a pig to show in the Salinas Valley Fair. But now, the fair in King City is no more.

"To hear that the fair was canceled was kind of really heartbreaking," Vert said.

"I was very disappointed and I was very confused as to what I would do with my animal," said Atascadero High School Student, Adeline Vert.

"I knew it had to be done because everything that's happening," said another Atascadero High School Student, Cameron Wiley.

The 4H students have poured a lot of time, effort, and money into their animals.

"Almost every year I spend about 400 to 600 dollars on just buying my animal and then probably about 200 dollars on feed," Adeline said.

"We had over 50 head of livestock entered in that show," said Kyle Dadson, Atascadero High Agriculture Instructor.

So their hardwork doesn't go to waste, the Salinas Valley Fair will produce a virtual livestock show and online auction.

"I'm happy that they're still able to help us sell our animals but it's still very different," Mikayla said.

"I have opted out of the auction because I'm going to end up breeding and that is also very confusing for me," Adeline added.

Templeton High Student, Jessica Welcher says she isn't taking part either because she already secured a buyer for her lamb.

"I was really sad to learn that to be involved in the virtual show for King City you have to go through the auction that they're also holding," Welcher said.

While the fair slated for May is canceled, it's not the end for Mikayla.

"I am very lucky that this is my senior year and not my alumni year and that I still get to show one more year," Mikayla said.

As far as the California Mid-State Fair...

"I am hoping that Mid-State Fair does happen and if somehow it does get canceled, I know that they have a long enough lead off that they will be able to get a plan in place," Mikayla added.

We reached out to the fair and were told by Tom Keffury:

"Supporting the youth in our community is of utmost priority to us, and we are committed to that 100%. We are actively working on contingency plans for our Livestock and Industrial Arts exhibitors should our "normal" fair not be allowed to happen. Also, we are watching and communicating with other fairs on a daily basis, gaining additional knowledge regarding their specific auction plans."

The Salinas Valley Fair Auction is scheduled for June 20th. For more information, click here.

The Mid-State Fair says last year, the livestock auctions brought in more than $2,300,000 on nearly 900 animals being raised.

The Industrial Arts Auction last year raked in $150,000.

We also checked in with the Santa Maria Fairpark.

Richard Persons, CEO of the Santa Maria Fairpark released this statement to KSBY:

"The Fairpark continues to plan for the Fair, while closely monitoring the situation. We continue to explore alternatives for the livestock auction in the event the Fair is canceled."