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No fair, but at last a taste

by MADISON HARDY
Staff Writer | August 14, 2020 1:06 AM

4-H livestock sale and North Idaho State Fair food vendors coming to fairgrounds

Despite the 2020 North Idaho State Fair’s cancellation, the traditional Kootenai-Shoshone 4-H stock sale and beloved fair food are coming to the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.

Earlier this summer, the fair board voted to allow the 4-H program to move forward with its annual stock sale. The showing will look a little different, though — through the screen of your home computer.

While there will be a physical showing at the fairgrounds rodeo arena Aug. 28 and 29, it will be restricted to exhibitors, entries and buyers.

Sharla Wilson, Kootenai County extension educator with the University of Idaho, said the virtual 4-H program livestock sale will allow for a larger audience to watch, bid, or buy from the sale safely.

“Through the online option friends and family from other states can now join the event as well,” Wilson said. “In the past, we’ve had a crowd around 200, but with the online we are looking to reach 300 to 400.”

Of the 800 children in the Kootenai County 4-H program, Wilson said there are 422 exhibitors and 1,438 entries ranging from leadership to aerospace, woodworking, pet goats, and market animals.

“We are down in numbers and exhibitors from previous years because we are still adapting to keeping our kids following along with the program,” Wilson said. “I’m excited that we have kept as many kids engaged in our program as we did, given all the challenges.”

Even though it isn’t the same livestock sale 4-H lovers are used to, Wilson is excited to give students a chance to show off their hard work.

“We have kids that are 18 years old that didn’t get to have their high school graduation or senior proms, so we are helping them have a big special event,” Wilson said. “People are very excited. We have the largest 4-H program in the state and I think having the community support for them is going to be amazing.”

The small animal sale for market rabbits and poultry starts at 6 p.m. Aug. 28, and large animals such as swine, lambs, goats, and beef will start at 3 p.m. the next day.

Registered buyer residents can call 208-446-1680 to attend physically.

In addition to the livestock sale, residents will be able to get their beloved funnel cake and deep-fried Oreos at the Fair Food Fix Aug. 21-23 and 28-30.

Located in the Kootenai County Fairgrounds main parking lot, nine fan-favorite food vendors will be serving up nostalgic and crazy creations in a drive-through fashion.

As customers pull into the parking lot they’ll received menus for vendors such as Azar’s Deep Fried Haven, County Snack Shack, Giovanni’s Concessions, Inland Empire Concessions, John Dough, Old Fashion Country Kettle Corn, Philly Express, White’s Concessions, and An Tostal Farms.

There will be no outside seating opportunities and customers are asked to remain in their car as masked cashiers walk around to pick up orders. Cards are preferred but cash is accepted.

The Fair Food Fix drive-thru will be open starting next week, Fridays 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Alexcia Jordan, North Idaho State Fair’s general manager, said after seeing other fairs in the country hold similar events she knew it was what the community needed.

“What we’ve seen in the fair industry is a lot of vendors struggling because they haven’t had any work this whole year,” Jordan said. “This is a fun way to get them out and give our community a little taste of the fair in the safest way possible.”

With a long list of canceled traditions, Jordan said she hopes this event will bring joy to Kootenai County.

“I’ve always loved the fair since I was a kid. It’s deeply missed … by everyone who spends so much of their lives putting this on,” Jordan said.