While the carnival and concerts are cancelled, much of the livestock elements are still in place, but differently, of course, due to coronavirus.
This year’s fair is unlike any other.
Barker Barn at the Jackson County Expo is usually packed to the brim with clubs and pigs, but due to coronavirus – it’s dramatically different this year.
“We still wanted to be able to have something. We know that some counties couldn’t. So what was our fair gonna look like? Is it gonna be a virtual fair or are we gonna do it in-person?” Said 4-H Youth Development Specialist for Jackson County, Lena Hosking.
After several meetings and planning in conjunction with Jackson County Public Health, the Jackson County Expo and 4-h club leaders; a way to move forward was found.
“It was gonna be a lot of work but we could do it, and we could figure out how to do it safely and in-person,” said Hosking.
Cautionary signs were posted around the barns and make-shift show arena, which was set up outdoors between Barker and Krouse barns.
Normally, the classes and auction are held inside of Olsrud Arena.
Aside from the unique layout of the fair, the market classes are also set up differently.
“They have 40 minutes to come in and prepare themselves and their animal. So it’s very different in the past, where before they could wash their pig and get it lookin- with all last minute touch-ups and clips and all that kind of stuff,” Hosking said.
4-H and FFA kids are only allowed at the barns with their livestock for a half hour to feed morning and night and for their scheduled classes.
Once their class or feeding concludes, they must leave the premises.
2nd year showman, Kutter Christensen, isn’t worried about the unique fair layout.
“They’re still trying to make it as best as possible, it’s a little challenging but, they’ll make it work,” Christensen said.
He arrived for his class 40 minutes prior to warm up his almost 250-pound hog, Pistol.
He said he was nervous about his market class and the auction, but he went into the show ring confidently.
“It went pretty smooth, I feel like I did pretty good and I showed my pig well,” said Christensen.
Christensen, in fact, did do ‘pretty good’.
He won his class with a purple ribbon!
“He said [the judge] that I won it pretty steadily, but it was still- he showed the best that he showed for me [the pig], and I did my part and he did his and we got through it,” said Christensen.
Although Christensen was eliminated in the middle-weight championship drive, he still placed 16th out of 170 show pigs.
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology.
In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she’s not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.