FFA and 4-H sheep handlers line up outside the livestock arena during last year’s Wallowa County Fair. Under guidelines being worked out by the Wallowa County Commission and Fair Board, no such group gatherings are likely at this year’s fair to comply with Gov. Kate Brown’s restrictions put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ENTERPRISE — Plans are still underway for a Wallowa County Fair to be held July 31 to Aug. 8 at the fairgrounds in Enterprise, and organizers are beginning to get an idea of how it’s going to look.

Initial plans, so far, are to avoid any close-packed group gatherings to comply with Gov. Kate Brown’s executive restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have a small community fair and we think we can conduct it” under those restrictions, said Todd Nash, the Wallowa County commissioner who is most closely involved with the fair. “Our fair’s quite different from most others around the state. We think we can come in under what’s required of us by the governor’s executive order and do it safely.”

Nash and Brenda Stanley, chairwoman of the Wallowa County Fair Board, said they expect to limit the number of animals each youth can show to one. A youth will be able to bring a market animal or a breeding-stock animal, but not both.

“We can’t have them bring a whole herd,” Stanley said. “We just can’t contain them.”

Nash agreed, after discussing it with fair representatives at the county commission meeting Wednesday, July 1.

“If you take a market animal, you won’t be able to also take a breeding animal,” he said Thursday. “Likely, that’s the way it’s going to go.”

However, he and Stanley emphasized, no firm decisions have yet been made. Just rough outlines of a number of the events have been agreed upon.

“Nothing’s set in stone,” Nash said.

The commissioners have worked with livestock superintendents and the fair board to set times for weigh-ins, animal shows and auctions. The participating youths have been notified.

Stanley said they don’t want the year’s hard work put in by 4-H’ers and FFA youths to go for naught.

“Despite the COVID, kids have still been working,” she said. “Our main focus … is to have a fair for these kids.”

While desiring to have the best fair possible under the circumstances, organizers are not ignoring the safety aspect.

“We encourage anyone who thinks they’re particularly threatened by COVID or have a compromised immune system to not come,” Nash said.

He said he doesn’t know when all the particulars of this year’s fair will be in place.

“The rules tend to change for us quite often,” he said. “We hope to know by fair time.”

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