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Minnesota Youth Livestock Expo a success

FAIRMONT — For the second year in a row the Minnesota Youth Livestock Expo was a great success. The event was organized in 2020 due to the cancellation of almost all of Minnesota’s county fairs and the state fair, which in turn was due to COVID-19 restrictions. Because of that 4-H and FFA youth were unable to show off their livestock projects. A group of volunteers then organized the Expo in order for kids to have a chance to exhibit their hard work.

Steve Pomerenke organized the event along with co-chair Kent Thiesse. Pomerenke shares that the second year was well-attended and stated that the event looks to become annual.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “We had a lot of kids that showed at two different Fairgrounds. We had about 1,050 entries in Fairmont and 650 in Jackson, and about 550 showings in Fairmont and about 250 showings in Jackson.”

As far as the event continuing into the future Pomerenke said that is the plan as it has become very popular. He did note that the goal is to not compete with the state and county fairs.

“We haven’t set the dates yet, but I’m thinking that the weekend after the Fourth of July works fairly well. That way we miss almost all the Southern Minnesota fairs, and we want to miss as many county fairs as possible and we didn’t want to compete with the State Fair.

“The other thing is that if we were to go earlier, at least on the cattle side, we start to run into national junior beef shows and we have a lot of those in June. We actually do conflict with some in July, but they move those around so much that there really is no way you can miss them all.”

Pomerenke also said that planning for the next event will likely begin just after the State Fair.

“Most of us are busy with either county fairs or the State Fair because most everyone that helped with the show is heavily involved with those. But that gives us plenty of time to do some planning.”

Pomerenke said that sentiment for the Expo is overwhelmingly positive, which is another driving force behind the decision to keep it going.

“We had an awful lot of people that really enjoyed coming and it’s really a family atmosphere,” he said. “A lot of people would come and camp at the Fairgrounds.

“We structured it to where you really didn’t have to stay overnight. With some species, you could actually come in the morning, show, and then go home. But a lot of people showed multiple species and I know some people that stayed the entire time.”

Pomerenke shared that everyone involved is extremely grateful for the amount of support they’ve received.

“We’ve gotten a lot of local support for the expo, and it does bring a lot of business to town,” he said. “We as a Fair board really try to use the Fairgrounds as a means to promote Fairmont and bring people to Fairmont. I think this does a good job of doing that.

“I think all the motels were full and while we did have food on the grounds, I’m sure there were people that ate in the restaurants. I would hope that it brought a fair amount of commerce to town.

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