Dear families and volunteers,
4-H will be at the Minnesota State Fair this summer! We have been working closely with our fair counterparts to ensure a safe and welcoming experience. Youth who have completed 6th grade or more may earn a 4-H trip to exhibit their project at the Minnesota State Fair (Aug. 26 - Sep. 6) by participating in a local 4-H showcase. There are also a few opportunities for younger 4-H youth to join us.
In-person and virtual options
We are committed to offering project showcase options that honor the unique needs of 4-H youth. With this in mind, we have retained virtual judging options in addition to reintroducing our in-person experiences during the state fair.
It is our preference that 4-H youth show their livestock projects in-person at a local fair or showcase event. However, virtual options will also be available. If a young person earns a state fair trip through in-person judging, they can participate in 4-H at the state fair either in-person or virtually. If a young person earns a state fair trip through virtual judging, they can only participate virtually with 4-H at the state fair. Livestock projects that are entered virtually at the state fair will be judged separately from our in-person shows and will not be eligible for special awards (i.e. MLBA Purple Ribbon Auction).
It is also our preference that 4-H youth showcase their general projects in-person at a local fair or showcase event. If a young person earns a state fair trip through in-person judging, they can participate in 4-H at the state fair either in-person or virtually. If a young person earns a state fair trip through local virtual judging, they can also participate either virtually or in-person at the state fair. All general projects that are entered at the state fair will be eligible for purple, blue, red and white ribbon placements.
We have secured enough housing for all 4-H youth and chaperones who would like to stay with us during the Minnesota State Fair. During livestock encampment (Aug. 25-29) 4-H housing will be at Sanford Hall and Bailey Hall on the U of M Twin Cities campus, at the 4-H Building, and above the cattle and swine barns on the fairgrounds. Each of our four general encampments include a two night stay in the 4-H Building (Aug. 29 - Sep. 6). The 4-H Building is also the housing available for our llama - alpaca encampment (Sep 1-3).
Public health and safety
Ensuring a safe experience for all youth is our top priority. We will integrate enhanced sanitation and physical distancing practices in 4-H spaces, including in the 4-H Building, barns and housing. We strongly recommend that youth and adults who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 wear masks while indoors or when adequate physical distancing is not possible. And, we ask that all people who choose to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status, are respected for their choice.
Our protocols also focus on ensuring youth and their belongings are safe and secure during 4-H encampments. We will continue to offer private busing between housing and the fairgrounds, enforce night time curfews for all youth, and provide overnight security. The Minnesota State Fair has also increased its investment in safety measures.
More information will be available as we finalize plans. Please contact your 4-H educator with questions including how many youth can be part of your local delegation to the 2021 Minnesota State Fair.
Dr. Jennifer A. Skuza
Associate dean & state 4-H director
Extension Center for Youth Development