PLEASANTON (KPIX) – The Alameda County Fair, the largest fair in the Bay Area, is the latest victim of COVID-19. But along with its cancellation comes questions about what will happen to all the farm animals that are normally auctioned off there.
“Fair time to me is fun time. You get to spend time with friends, family, show off all your hard work,” said Livermore High FFA student Crayton McCafferty.READ MORE: Rain Showers Trigger Power Outages Across The Bay Area
McCafferty has put in nearly a year of hard work raising his Angus steer, “Stitch” from a young calf. By this summer, he expects Stitch to weigh about 1,300 pounds and fetch about $4,000 at auction, which is only slightly above what it cost to raise him.
“You know, they work for months and I don’t know that everyone understands the hard work that goes into that,” said Angel Moore, the Alameda County Fair’s VP of Business Development.
But no fair means no auction so students will be scrambling to find someone to buy their animals. The fair still hopes it can hold some kind of properly-distanced live event, but if they can’t they say they’ll make the auction a virtual one.
Ten-year old 4-H student Lincoln Cooper isn’t sure how much he can sell his pig, “Kevin” for. But, already a savvy agribusinessman, he’s imagining what it might mean to hold an auction with a potentially worldwide audience.READ MORE: Dozens of Dogs, Cats Removed From Danville Home
“I don’t know, but I think it might be a little bit better because everybody’s at home and they’re thinking that there’s a shortage of meat,” he said.
The fair says they plan to hold some kind of auction, either live or virtual, on July 12, the day it would have happened if the fair hadn’t been cancelled. But the experience and excitement of a live auction was something junior pig farmer Allie Lindsey was looking forward to.
“Um, I was kind of bummed but I’m trying to keep a positive attitude,” she said.
That’s about as much complaining as you’ll hear from this bunch.
Presley Cooper is only 13-years-old but won master showman honors last year with her sheep. She already has the strong, silent determination of an experienced rancher and, like the rest, is willing to endure hardships while maintaining that eternal optimism for the future that helped tame the West.
“Yeah, it’s a bummer but we’ll figure it out,” she said. “And there’s always next year to look forward to, too.”