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Livestock show season excitement

Cecilia and Carson Knott with their goats at the McLean County Fairgrounds this week / CIFN photo.

BLOOMINGTON – While this summer has been different for those in 4-H, a bit of normalcy returned for youth participating in the recent McLean County Fair Association Junior Livestock Show.

The event held at the McLean County Fairgrounds featured different livestock shows for five days, with attendance limited to exhibitors and immediate family members.

Cecilia Knott of Mackinaw showed goats on Thursday. Many of the different fairs Knott attends each summer have been cancelled but she has been lucky enough to visit a couple.

“Usually, I’m on the road several weekends each month but this year, maybe just one show a month, Knott explained.

Knott and her brothers brought seven goats to the show. They normally travel to places like Texas, Nebraska, Ohio and Indiana.

“I raise them and I show them all over.”

At the age of 10, Knott’s father wanted to find something his daughter would enjoy. She did not play sports and pretty much had her nose in a book much of the time. He knew someone with goats so he bought a couple and the rest is history.

Hannah Botkin of Lexington had chickens at the junior livestock show. She noticed the emptiness on the grounds compared to a typical fair year since fewer people were on hand with less livestock. Botkin also usually sees more friends during this time, admitting the summer has been different from other years.

“You don’t really get to see your friends as much and you don’t really go out as much,” Botkin said.

Despite a one-day show experience for the different types of animals with an in-and-out format, 4-H show director Bryan Hoffman felt the week went well.

“I think the kids really enjoyed getting out, being around other kids and showing their livestock,” Hoffman said. “It really excites them.”

The show was a little less hands-on due to COVID and participants probably didn’t bring as many animals as they normally do, according to Hoffman. He said they were lucky to have great weather during the week.

In addition to the junior livestock show, a McLean County Fair Food Fest was held on the grounds with a variety of menu options, including: corndogs, curly fries, lemonade shake-ups, ice cream and burgers. Social distancing measures and safety precautions were in place per local health department guidelines.

Guests were advised to wear face masks and food could be eaten on the grounds or taken to go.

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