Cass County Fair Show and Go gives youth time to shine

CASSOPOLIS — The 2020 Cass County Fair may have been canceled, but Fair Board President Brian Kuemin wanted to find a way to allow the county youth to showcase their livestock projects.

So Kuemin and the board created the Cass County Fair Show and Go, which ran from Saturday, Aug. 1 to Friday, Aug. 7 at the Cass County Fairgrounds in Cassopolis.

“We were unable to have a normal fair, unfortunately,” Kuemin said. “But the board wanted to give our youth an opportunity to show their animals and give them a sense of normalcy during this time. So we invited the kids and their parents to the fairgrounds.”

The Show and Go consisted of 13 events, including a dog show, sheep show, dairy show, and swine show. Exhibitors brought in their animals for the show and took them home the same day. The events started in the morning and ended in the afternoon.

“It seemed very odd leaving the gates in the afternoon,” Kuemin said. “Definitely not a typical fair week.”

Health and safety measures included temperature checks at the gate and a COVID-19 questionnaire. Show locations were disinfected and handwashing and sanitizing stations were placed throughout the grounds and in the buildings. Access to the fairgrounds was limited to event staff, exhibitors and parents.

“Everything was sanitized between shows,” Kuemin said. “We wanted this to be a safe environment for everyone involved. I couldn’t be more proud of the board and the people who put the time and effort into making this work. Everyone did a great job of providing a great opportunity for our kids. Proud of everything that happened and that we were able to do this for our kids.”

To keep the number of spectators down, the fair did not promote the event to the public. Even so, fair sponsors of the past reached out about sponsoring awards for the events.

“We didn’t seek out any sponsors, so we were very appreciative of that,” Kuemin said. “When we decided to postpone the fair, most of the folks rolled over their partnerships to next year. That says a lot about the relationship we have with our partners.”

Positive feedback from exhibitors has Kuemin excited about next year’s fair, which he hopes is a return to normal.

“We’re already talking about planning for 2021,” Kuemin said. “It feels great to do the things that we do for our youth. The fair is all about the community. You don’t realize how much you miss seeing the people you usually see at the county fair. We’re anxious to bring that back to the community and offer that up for 2021.”

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