The bleating of sheep carried across the outdoors as the Geauga County 4-H clubs prepared for their livestock shows last week before the start of the commissioners’ meeting.

The county commissioners helped kick off the Great Geauga Junior Fair last week as department heads and a few members of the public gathered around the 4-H stage at the fairgrounds in Burton.

Keeping with tradition for the 198th fair, the commissioners’ office passed a formal resolution at the Sept. 3 meeting to recognize the hard work of the Geauga County Agricultural Society and Fair Board as well as the county 4-H clubs. While this year’s fair looked much different than anticipated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the labors that went into the holiday weekend did not go unnoticed.

“We made it,” said Fair Board President David Parker. “It’s been a long road to get here. There’ve been a lot of ups and downs.

“This year has been totally different, planning for a junior fair under the governor’s orders,” he continued. “The fair board can’t thank these commissioners enough. They’ve been standing beside us day by day with all of these changes and regulations and meetings and everything that’s been going on.”

Commissioner Timothy Lennon returned the sentiment, further acknowledging the fair board’s planning of the extended weekend festivities.

“I know you guys have been working on this day and night trying to figure out every way to accommodate all the, first and foremost, the children [who] put all the time and effort into this,” he said.

The commissioners also recognized each of the 33 4-H clubs that participated in this year’s junior fair. The junior fair started at 8 a.m. on Sept. 3 with animal shows running all weekend, closing with live and virtual auctions Monday before the fairgrounds closed in the afternoon.

“I still think this is going to be a fantastic weekend for these kids,” Mr. Lennon said last week. “They’re still going to enjoy the experience.”

As Commissioner James Dvorak put it in an opening prayer for the meeting, “These Geauga County children have rough hands, farmers’ tans, dirty boots and country roots.”

Sam Cottrill started reporting for the Times in February 2019 and covers Auburn, Bainbridge, Bentleyville and Chagrin, Kenston, Solon and West Geauga schools. She graduated from Kent State University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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