Following the announcement of many pandemic related cancellations across the region, the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS) announced the launch of the “Western New York Youth in Ag Bonanza” program. This “reduced spectator” series of livestock and animal shows will take place on the Erie County Fairgrounds over the course of three weekends in August (8/6-8/8. 8/13-8/15, 8/20-8/22). The goal of the program is to provide youth, who have limited opportunities this summer to show and compete with their animals, a venue to keep the ag community growing during 2020. This event will not be open to the public but only for competitors and their immediate families.
“Despite changes to summer traditions, the ECAS is committed to the youth of Western New York State who have worked for months with their animals,” said Jessica Underberg, CEO of the Erie County Agricultural Society. “Children involved in agriculture have invested their hearts, minds and financial resources into these youth development projects. It is our goal that the “WNY Youth in Ag Bonanza” will provide a hands-on learning experience that will continue to develop and recognize these hard-working children for their efforts.”
The show will take place in the designated agricultural zones on the Fairgrounds and will be open to all youth competitors from eight Western New York Counties. These include Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Genesee, Orleans, Niagara and Wyoming. Competitors will be able to compete in livestock judging and showmanship in various categories that include dogs, horses, dairy cattle, dairy goats, poultry, rabbits, beef cattle, llamas, swine and sheep.
To facilitate this event in a safe environment, the Erie County Agricultural Society has developed a comprehensive plan based on current COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the CDC and other health organizations. Personal protective equipment will be required for all participants except when in the showring. The number of animals allowed in various showrings will be limited to ensure social distancing.
Attendance to each session will be limited to competitors and their immediate family members. For friends and family who will not be able to attend the event due to capacity restrictions, organizers plan to live stream the competitions via website and social media channels.
In addition, the perimeter of the Fairgrounds agricultural zones will be secured with temperature checks and medical documentation taking place at designated checkpoints before entry. If an exhibitor or family member presents COVID-19 related symptoms while on property, the Erie County Health Department will be immediately notified.
The tentative category schedule of the WNY Youth in Ag Bonanza:
1st Session, August 6th-8th
- Hog, Dairy Cattle, Beef Cattle, Poultry/Rabbit
2nd Session, August 13th-15th
- Sheep, Meat Goats, Llama, Dairy Goats
3rd Session, August 20th -22nd
- Horse, Dog
Entries into the “Western New York Youth in Ag Bonanza” will be accepted through July 27th. For more information visit www.the-fairgrounds.com/wnyyouthagbonanza or on Facebook. You can also call the Fairgrounds at (716) 649-3900 for more information.