(KEYC) - Also announced today, the Minnesota State Fair’s governing board voted unanimously to cancel this year’s Great Minnesota Get Together.
This is the sixth time the State Fair has been canceled. The last was in 1946 due to a polio epidemic. Local 4-H’ers and program leaders said they’re going to miss the fair for more than its corn dogs and the chocolate chip cookies.
For Minnesota 4-H and FFA youth across the state, the Minnesota State Fair is about much more than cheese curds and all you can drink milk.
“For over 5,000 youth it is the culmination of a year of hard work, learning, and project development,” said 4-H adult leader, Leah Eischen.
Lucas Doll, a Watonwan County 4-H'er who will soon be graduating out of 4-H, has been ending his summer at the state fair for many years.
“All of us 4-H’ers work hard throughout the summer and State Fair is kind of like an end prize or get together for all the 4-H friends and family to meet,” said Doll.
Emily Grote, another Watonwan County 4-H’er, said the State Fair has become a family tradition.
“It’s really, I think, upsetting because my dad has gone to State Fair for 25-30 years and all of a sudden it’s my last year and I won’t get a chance to show there again,” said Grote.
Many 4-H’ers work year round in preparation for the State Fair competitions.
“It’s really sad because it’s not just something we do once a year, it’s something we work for and look forward to all year round, being able to educate the public and spend time with your friends and do what we love showing our livestock,” said Grote.
“So pigs you have to walk them every day and wash them every other day, so we have a schedule where we have to put in a lot of time throughout the year,” said Doll.
“The State Fair is to 4-H’ers as the state tournaments are to high school sports,” said Eischen.
The Minnesota State Fair released a statement regarding the impact of the cancellation of Minnesota agriculture: “Nothing has been set up at this time but the Minnesota State Fair will continue their discussions with youth programs to explore any possibilities that will continue to support these key parts of agriculture across the state throughout the summer.”
Minnesota 4-H and State Fair committees are already hard at work to find alternative options for youth to showcase their projects.
“I’m sure that the State Fair board did not take this decision lightly, but hopefully next year will be a bigger and better Minnesota get together,” said Eischen.
Minnesota 4-H announced that they are committed to offering an alternative for youth to showcase their projects and will let the public know about those plans in June.