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4-H events at 2021 Harford County Farm Fair will be open to the public; other events will remain virtual

The 34th annual Harford County Farm Fair, scheduled for the last week of July, was initially planned to be fully virtual because of COVID-19 safety concerns, but organizers now are planning to open 4-H events — including the annual livestock auction — for in-person attendance.

The fair’s board of directors announced in April, when the rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Harford County was among the highest in the state, that the majority of the fair would happen virtually this summer. Most of the events for the 2020 fair did not happen, other than youth livestock exhibitions and the annual auction that were organized by members of the community.

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The most recent announcement regarding this year’s fair comes as vaccines against COVID are widely available, the statewide and countywide positivity rate are below 1%, and Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that Maryland’s state of emergency would end July 1.

The Harford Farm Fair is scheduled for Saturday, July 24 through Saturday, July 31. Most activities related to the fair, which has been a major summer event in Harford for more than three decades, will still be virtual, but the public is invited to attend 4-H exhibitions happening throughout the week.

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Those exhibitions, during which youth members of local 4-H clubs show their talents and skills as well as animals they have been raising throughout the year, start July 24 with horseback riding, then a lawn tractor driving and bicycle contest on July 26.

The rest of the week includes beef and poultry showings on July 28; dairy goats, sheep, market goats and dairy cows on July 29 and rabbit and swine exhibitions July 30.

The fair culminates July 31 with the 4-H livestock show, starting at 3 p.m. Youths who have spent the past year raising livestock such as cattle, goats and swine sell the animals at auction and can put the proceeds either toward college or reinvest in an animal for the next year’s sale.

Fair organizers initially planned to only allow bidders to attend the auction in person, but now the public is welcome to attend, too. The sale also can be seen via livestream on the fair’s website, but bids can only be made in person, not online.

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People also can participate virtually in contests such as the farm baby costume, prettiest pet and talent shows, and enter in multiple competitions related to crafts and skills such as gardening, baking, knitting and woodworking. People can submit photos or videos of their entries; the deadline is noon July 12.

Visit the farm fair website, or the fair’s Facebook page, for more information.

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