For Chad and Allee Hoover, showing their livestock at the Washington County Fair is a favorite annual tradition.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 Washington County Fair, the Buffalo Township teens were worried the junior lifestock would also be eliminated.
But, the siblings recently got some welcome news: the EQT Junior Livestock Market Show and Sale will still take place.
The Washington County Agricultural Fair Board announced the livestock market competition, sponsored by EQT, will be held Aug. 20-22 at the Washington County Expo Center.
The three-day event will feature the showing and sale of rabbits, goats, hogs, lambs and steers.
“(The livestock competition) is a lot of fun. We live on a farm and we have breeding animals we show around the country too. Showing is our life,” said Allee, 13, a member of the South Franklin Morris 4-H Club. “We look forward to showing during the summer, so we were bummed out about the fair being canceled. We’re pretty excited we’ll be able to show.”
Chad, 15, and Allee, 13, have each been raising a bore goat and a Hamp lamb since March.
This year will be Chad’s fifth year for showing livestock, and Allee’s fourth.
“I like watching them going from being a little lamb when they’re born, and then at the fair in a couple of months, they weigh almost 150 pounds, and they’re almost bigger than you are,” said Chad.
His lamb, Gus, currently weighs about 140 pounds, and is still growing.
Allee said she and her brother enjoy taking care of the animals.
“It’s fun training them all summer. They have different personalities. You get used to feeding them and caring for them, brushing them,” she said.
The siblings live on Hoover Family Farm, a 50-acre farm where their parents raise four breeds of sheep for meat and wool.
Fair board president Todd Richards said the cancellation of the 2020 fair was not made lightly.
“But considering the COVID-19 pandemic concerns and the safety of our many stakeholders, we believe it is the right decision. The EQT Junior Livestock Market Competition allows the hundreds of children and their families to show the animals they have been nurturing and preparing for months,” said Richards.
The Junior Livestock Market Board Committee is working with county officials on plans to make sure the show participants, volunteers and spectators are in a safe and healthy environment.
The cancellation of the 2020 fair impacts the county, the agricultural and tourism industries, 4-H Clubs, FFA members, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, the carnival company, concessionaires and the 50,000 people who attend annually.
The seven-day Washington County Fair is Pennsylvania’s oldest fair, dating back to October 1798. It includes nearly 2,000 animals, more than 2,600 agricultural exhibits, and about 6,600 youth and craft exhibits. The fair attracts 50,000 people annually and generates more than $5.2 million in annual economic impact.