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story.lead_photo.caption Livia Santschi (from left) of Tontitown, her son, Dean Santschi, 8, and friend Allie O'Connell, 13, of Fayetteville work together Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, to prepare Raven for the annual Washington County Horse Show at the Pauline Whitaker Animal Science Center in Fayetteville. The fair continues today with the hog and dairy goat shows and runs through Saturday, concluding with the youth dog show. Visit nwaonline.com/200824Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The Washington County Fair will go on this year with precautions in place because of covid-19, a fair official said.

The fair will run Tuesday through Saturday, according to the fair website. The event at the Washington County Fairgrounds is only open to junior exhibitors and their families because of the coronavirus, said Fair Board President Kendall Pendergraft.

The fair will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines such as 6 feet of social distancing, wearing face coverings and limiting the number of people, Pendergraft said.

The sheep and beef arenas will show two animal species a day. Competitors will check in their animals, show them and then go home, Pendergraft said.

Cultural arts exhibits will be displayed. Those include skills such as sewing and arts and crafts.

There will be no entries in the horticulture building or for table settings, educational booths, baked goods or hobby and collectibles, according to the fair website. The pageants also have been canceled, Pendergraft said.

The fair normally draws 20,000 to 25,000 people for the whole event, Pendergraft said.

The Junior Livestock Auction will be at 6 p.m. Thursday. Bidders can attend but must maintain social distancing. The event also will be shown on Facebook and bidders can call in, Pendergraft said. The event brought in $200,000 last year, he said.

The coronavirus pandemic has also caused the Arkansas State Fair to be canceled for the first time since World War II, said Doug White, general manager of the event. The state fair in Little Rock was scheduled for Oct. 16-25. White said the board voted to cancel this year's fair while leaving the door open for a possible livestock show during that same 10 days in October.

The Arkansas Oklahoma State Fair in Fort Smith also was called off this year. It was to be held Sept. 25 through Oct. 3.

The Benton County Fair was held Aug. 4-8 with a limited schedule and attendance restricted to exhibitors and immediate family because of covid-19.

Just fewer than 5,000 attendees participated for the week. The number includes exhibitors in the barn and exhibition hall, family members and volunteers, said Susan Koehler, fair and events manager. In a normal year, total attendance would be between 26,000 and 33,000 people, she said.

The Junior Livestock Auction was held online and raised $112,405, according to CMC Auctions.

The auction was a premium auction, meaning the young competitors get to keep their animals and use the sale price to cover costs of raising the animal or to begin a new livestock project for next year's fair.

photo
Emma Weathers, 12, of Siloam Springs checks out her horse, Jack, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, before beginning competition in the annual Washington County Horse Show at the Pauline Whitaker Animal Science Center in Fayetteville. The fair continues today with the hog and dairy goat shows and runs through Saturday, concluding with the youth dog show. Visit nwaonline.com/200824Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)

Mike Jones can be reached by email at [email protected]

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