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Despite limited Fair, Ag Society and 4H still put in the work

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HARTINGTON — It might not have been the biggest or the best Fair in the 120-plus history of the Cedar County Fair, but it is now complete.

Most of the festivities were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and thankfully, some events like the livestock and small animal show for the 4H and FFA members were able to still get off the ground.

Greg Heine, President of the Cedar County Ag Society, once again helped get the fair up and running, even if the event was more of a jog this year rather than the five-day marathon it usually is.

“It’s been a fun year,” Heine said tongue in cheek. “These last two years have been the toughest. Last year we had a flood and we had to do a lot of work as a fair board. It seems like we have put a lot of effort in, but I think we are going to come out of it very positive and I am excited for next year,” he said. “We are going to keep our heads up high.”

The Ag Society began planning last September for its typical five-day fair. those thougthts changed dramatically in March and April, though.

“We were all hoping to have the large fair we were expecting to have. One of the hardest things is that we couldn’t have the one we wanted, but at least we were able to have the 4-H youth exhibits and come out and showcase all their hard work and efforts,” he said. “We are proud that we were able to do that for our youth and our community.”

The crowds were much smaller as only immediate family and friends attended and the contestants had to wear masks. Mass cleaning was also done in between each show, sanitizing to make sure everything was safe, Heine said.

“It was a very streamlined cut down fair,” Heine said. “We were happy the youth could come out and show their animals and the parents could come out and watch them participate,” he said.

Even though it was a stripped down event, the participants still had fun, he said.

“Kids are really resilient, and they have come out of this really well,” he said. “They showcased their projects really well and it was a success that way. They are still doing their best and doing a really good job with the projects.”

The shows took a little longer due to fewer kids being able to show their animals at one time. The crowds were also much smaller than normal, according to Heine, who has helped lead the Ag Society for nine years.

The Ag Society still went to work to set the fair up as if it was going to be brimming with bodies and activity.

“Other than that, it’s been about the same show as usual except with people being spaced out and the wearing of masks and a lot of cleaning,” Heine said. “It was pretty cool building that new building before COVID broke out. A lot of it was planned stuff and we had planned all year. So, we had started a lot of the projects under the assumption we would have a full fair. The wheels were in motion so we decided we might as well just get it finished anyway. It was our working months, so we just get things done.”

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