4-H program to host ‘UnFair’ in July at County Fairgrounds

Local 4-H members are pictured during the 2019 Chautauqua County Fair. After the fair's cancellation this year, 4-H will hold its "UnFair" July 21-25 at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds in Dunkirk. P-J file photo

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s 4-H Youth Development Program is making the best out of a bad situation.

News of the cancellation of the 2021 Chautauqua County Fair brought about mixed emotions across the county. While some agreed with the decision or related to the circumstances, many were disappointed and saddened. For the 4-H youth in the county, it was just another disappointment in a year full of canceled programming and missed opportunities.

Chautauqua County 4-H staff and volunteers are determined to provide a viable opportunity for youth to showcase their 4-H projects, an opportunity they have not had since 2019.

Dubbed the “UnFair,” plans are fully underway for the 2021, 4-H Celebration. The “UnFair” will be July 21-25 at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds in Dunkirk. Traditionally, the fair is a time when 4-H families come together to learn, strengthen friendships, and have fun. That is the goal of this year’s UnFair.

The UnFair will provide an opportunity for Chautauqua County 4-H youth members to exhibit their club projects in the 4-H Youth Building, and those who participate in the beef, dairy, goat, hog, horse, poultry, rabbit, and sheep projects will show and exhibit during the week. This event is open to 4-H members and members of their immediate household only. All COVID-19 protocols will be followed.

The 57th annual 4-H Meat animal sale will be the only portion of the program open to in-person public participation and will take place Saturday, July 24, at noon. An estimated 60 hogs, eight goats, 35 pairs of chickens, 28 lambs and 15 steers will be sold by live auction to the highest bidder.

The Chautauqua County Fair Board is donating the use of the grounds, water and electric for the event. This means that 4-H is responsible for the remaining costs including cleaning and sanitizing, security, sawdust, ribbons, trash, manure removal and more. It is estimated to cost the program about $15,000. This is especially difficult coupled with the fact that the County Fair snack bar is typically a major fundraiser for the County 4-H Program. An opportunity obviously not available for this year.

The Chautauqua County Legislature was the first friend of 4-H youth to step up and support the effort with a special program allocation of $6,637.00. News spread and 4-H supporters are offering in-kind and monetary donations to make the 2021 celebration a success.

Raber’s Blacksmith Supply in Conewango has agreed to match the first $500 in monetary funds raised.

4-H is part of Big Give CHQ, a community day of online giving, June 10, 2021. Support for the 4-H UnFair can be made by donating during Give Big CHQ at givebigchq.org/organizations/cornell-cooperative-extension-chautauqua-county.

Donations by cash or check can be dropped off or mailed to the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office located at 525 Falconer St., PO Box 20 Jamestown, NY 14702. Contact the 4-H office for additional details or questions, 664-9502 ext. 214.


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