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Umatilla County Fair to move online and Farm-City Pro Rodeo canceled

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Youth livestock auction

Hunter Dyer herds his pig around a pen as the animal is auctioned off in 2019 at the Umatilla County Fair.

Hermiston’s biggest events of the year have been put on hold to protect people from COVID-19.

The Umatilla County Fair announced on May 14 that most of the fair’s offerings, including concerts, carnival rides, booths and the parade are canceled for 2020. Youth livestock shows and the auction will be modified to include online showings.

“First and foremost, we must keep the public safe and follow the orders set forth by the Governor’s office,” a news release stated.

They said they have a committee working on what the platform for 4-H and FFA activities will look like, and are taking input from stakeholders.

Governor Kate Brown has stated that gatherings of more than 250 people will not be allowed until at least the end of September.

Farm-City Pro Rodeo also announced on May 14 that they are canceling their event in light of those restrictions.

“We want to thank our sponsors, box seat and reserved seat holders, our Gold Buckle members, our fans and contestants, and the community for their continued support. The event, held in conjunction with the Umatilla County Fair, has grown to be one of the top rodeos in the nation,” they stated in a Facebook post. “We are proud to have served the community with our rodeo for 32 years. That being said, our 2021 Farm-City Pro Rodeo is going to be bigger and better than ever!”

The Umatilla County Fair’s predecessor, the Dairy and Hog Show, was canceled in 1918 because of a global influenza pandemic.

“The withering hand of a widespread infectious disease had to step in at an inopportune time and put a stop to these well laid plans that meant so much to the dairymen, hog raisers and agricultural people of this community, who have yearly taken just pride in exhibiting the products of their farms,” the Hermiston Herald reported at the time.

“But with good grace all bow to the precautionary measures enjoined by a rigid quarantine, and agree that the mayor’s proclamation closing schools, the Movie, abandoning church services and stopping all public gatherings is the best method of safeguarding the public against the spread of influenza in this neighborhood.”

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